Culture, Traditions, Pilgrimages in August

La Esperanza Pilgrimage

The entire town gets involved in the event that evokes the purest of Canarian culture. There are no shortage of traditional carts and livestock, Canarian food and wine on the first Sunday in August.

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Traditional Harvesting

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On the second Sunday in August, a number of families from Icod el Alto in Los Realejos come together to harvest their crops in the traditional way. This is one of the most significant acknowledgements to the role that grain and its derivatives have played over the years in the Canary Islands’ gastronomy.

Candelaria Festivals

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The Virgin of Candelaria is the patron saint of the Canary Islands. The celebrations in her honour take place in summer, on 15 August, in the seaside town of Candelaria. The festivities have been declared to be of National Tourist Interest. Many pilgrims come from all over the Island to pay homage and many spend the previous night on one of the pathways that lead to the town. The celebration is closely bound to the aboriginal world. On the evening of 14 August, a traditional flower offering and pilgrimage takes place in honour of the Virgin, livened by a number of folk groups, and the Plaza de la Basílica hosts a re-enactment of her appearance unto the Guanche people, according to the tradition.

Alcalá Fireworks

One of the most popular and spectacular firework shows of the year always takes place on the same date – 15 August in the small fishing town of Alcalá.

San Roque Pilgrimage

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This lively and popular festival has been taking place every 16 August since the 17th century. At one o’clock, the municipal band, herds of livestock, musicians journey through the streets to lead the figure of San Roque to the chapel. At the same time, the fishermen in Garachico embark on their own ocean pilgrimage, taking the saint along the coastline on their boats. This celebration has been declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest.

The Descent of the Beeches

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This ceremony takes place in La Guancha on the second Saturday in August as part of the celebrations in honour of the patron saint, Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza. Hundreds of locals take to the hills in search of beech branches. Once gathered, they are taken to the village to adorn the streets ready for the procession in honour of the saint. The ceremony originated from a pilgrimage in which locals who owned load-bearing livestock would venture into the hills to collect beech branches. The procession currently follows the same route and still features the same stops that the pilgrims used to make on the way, where locals are now invited to stop for a drink and some local products as they parade along the streets.

San Agustín Pilgrimage

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On the last Saturday in august, the figure of the saint is carried down from his cave in the Añavingo ravine, is taken to the town, and stays there until the middle of the following month. After spending a month in Arafo, the figure is returned to his cave.

The Mint Tea Pilgrimage

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Hundreds of pilgrims set off towards the mountain of Icod de los Vinos in August on a quest to pick mint tealeaves. Escorted by the Mint Tea Orchestra, the pilgrims dance and sing as they search for these fragrant leaves, which they then use to adorn the streets of the El Amparo neighbourhood during the festivities.

Santa Bárbara’s Baskets and Buns

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This tradition began almost 70 years ago to give thanks for good harvests. On the last Sunday in August, a number of decorated cars set off from El Calvario in Icod de los Vinos bearing baskets of fruit. They head towards La Palmita, where Santa Bárbara awaits. The single women carry huge baskets on their heads adorned with coloured ribbons. Inside, they are full of baked goods on sticks decorated with dozens of small figures.

The Hearts of Tejina

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This is one of the most brightly coloured and striking traditions on the Island, which is why the residents of the town of Tejina are so keen to keep it alive. A cross-shaped structure is erected with two wooden hearts, one bigger than the other, and the structure is used as a base on which to attach flowers, fruit and specially decorated flat bread. This celebrates the San Bartolomé festival, which takes place in late August, when the three main neighbourhoods in the town (El Pico, Calle Arriba and Calle Abajo) bring out the hearts that they have been working on for days. Weighing up to 900 kilos (1985 lbs) and towering 12 metres tall (39 ft.), the townsmen carry them all the way to the church square. Once raised, an entertaining ritual begins in which each neighbourhood tauntingly mocks the others’ hearts.

 

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