If like me, you were brought up Catholic you know there are certain words that while you may never, ever and possibly not in your whole lifetime have cause to use them stick in your brain like glue.
Transubstantiation – now there’s a word not something I am in the habit of saying but I still remember it means bread and wine is miraculously turned into the body and blood of Christ. I found that hard to believe when I was a stroppy teenager attending a convent in the 1960s and over the years, my views haven’t changed. But why should I suddenly think of that strange word now? Oh yes, it is the month of June and that immediately conjures up the image of Corpus Christi.
When mentioned in Tenerife, many people associate Corpus Christi and the floral carpets with La Orotava. Hardly surprising as this spectacle draws tens of thousands of visitors to the north of the island each year however there are other towns that follow a similar tradition and not all in the North.
Here in the south it has, since ancient times been the custom to decorate the streets and mark the processional routes with tapestries and rugs made from flower petals, volcanic sand or salt for this religious event.
Less than 10 minutes from the main southern holiday resorts you will be able to see these in Valle San Lorenzo, Buzanada, Cabo Blanco and La Camella to name but a few. All of these small typically Canarian towns have ‘carpets’ in the church square followed by processions you can find the programme of events Here
Of course, if you are looking for less of a local feel and a bit more spectacle then head for the small but pretty town of Arona just 5 miles from Los Cristianos. Since it isn´t as well known as La Orotave you will be able to stroll peacefully around its hilly streets admiring art that must have taken hours and hours of backbreaking work to complete only to be destroyed as the sun sets and the procession passes over it.
Head to the church for early evening if you want to see the little girls in their first communion dresses as they slowly amble through town accompanied by the town band. Watch as villagers hanging over their balconies and shower the passing procession with flower petals. All the while, your senses will be tantalised by the potent perfume of rosemary and fennel that fills the evening air.
Not to be outdone Adeje will be using some 3 tons of coloured salt to create their carpets. These works of art are in the old part of down and go down Calle Grande and Calle Corpus. The carpets are completed over the weekend this year it is 21st and 22nd June so visitors have slightly longer to view them before they are destroyed by the shuffling feet of the faithful.
Even a sceptic like me has to be admired the festival if for nothing more than the magnificent artwork that is involved in creating these beautiful carpets.