The first pilgrimage to San Isidro took place in Los Realejos in 1676 when country people made an offering to their patron saint. The tradition continues today and floats, some drawn by oxen but mostly built on trucks, parade through the steep amber walled and dusty streets celebrating the town’s bygone heritage.
Each float represents a farm, a street, or district, and they are decorated with plants, branches, flowers, farming implements and the head of a pig that has been ‘sacrificed’ for the fiesta.
Balconies and windows along the parade route are festooned with flags, shawls, and tablecloths all to mark the celebration.
After the religious service in honour of San Isidro, the floats slowly move along the route. The people on them, all wearing traditional dress, hand out “papas arrugadas”, small potatoes boiled in their jackets, gofio, boiled eggs, and wine to spectators. Stalls are set up along the streets and typically, sell sardines and potatoes, and wine bars offer free tastings. There is a livestock fair where all the best animals of the area are exhibited and the party continues for the whole day.
This popular feast has to be experienced rather than just watched, and has been declared of national tourist interest. Apart from its obvious historical attractions, it is an extremely nice area to hang out in. The fiesta takes place between end May and beginning of June, but as I’m currently in the UK I want to post it now in case I forget once I return home. 🙂