More information and programme of the highlights can be found at the end of this blog for items marked with a 🌟
One of the oldest celebrations with more than four centuries of tradition behind it takes place in the southern municipality of Arona when it celebrates the pilgrimage of San Antonio Abad its patron saint. This is the first big romería of the year and the main feature as San Antonio is the protector of animals, are animals and rural life in the area.
It is a week of events that culminate with the spectacular Pilgrimage on Sunday 13th January.
Thousands of people come to Arona, a lovely unspoilt haven in the hills above the coastal resorts, not just residents but tourists too, as the ayuntamiento provides 🌟free transport from Los Cristianos and Las Americas with the aim of publicising the romería among visitors who wish to learn about the real Tenerife.
The festivals outward appearance has varied over the years, but its raison d’être is still to honour the patron saint mainly with overflowing joy, partying, merriment and hospitality.
The streets and balconies of the town are decorated for the occasion with simple but effective discs featuring the local produce and traditional emblems of the romería. The air is filled with the aroma of roast pork and the sound of parrandas and folklore groups is everywhere.
🌟The day begins around 10.30am for the more religious-minded with a church service and a sung mass. This is followed by the image of the saint being transported around town. For those like me who are not religious, there is lots of fun and games including an artisans fair featuring arts and crafts and stalls with food and drink.
As the town is not big it is easy to see everything as it goes by. The central area is traffic free, making wandering amongst the procession very easy. It starts around noon from the main plaza which is the focal point of the celebrations. Several carts pulled by oxen lead the way and are followed by every dog, cat, rabbit, horse, goat, sheep and even ferret joining in to be blessed, well that is the origin of this tradition. The carts and floats are interspersed with musicians and dancers in traditional dress.
Drink plays a key role in any fiesta and this ancestral pilgrimage in honour of San Antonio Abad is no different. 🌟 It ends in the Plaza del Santísimo Cristo de la Salud with a great evening of revelry, beer and wine flow freely. Ladies in Canarian dress dance and sing for your entertainment and aroneros encourage visitors to dance, sing, drink and enjoy the massive firework display.
It is well worth a few hours out of your day to get to know the real Tenerife
Highlights of the Fiesta
On Thursday candidates from different parts of the municipality will participate in the traditional election of the Romera Mayor de Arona which will be held from 20.00 in the Plaza del Cristo de la Salud.
On Friday, January 11, at 9:00 pm, the magicians’ dance (Baile de Magos) will take place, also in the square and entertainment will be provided by different folk groups both from the municipality as well as guest groups. Note: it is essential to wear traditional clothes and bring food to share.
🌟 FREE TRANSPORT FOR THE PILGRIMAGE on SUNDAY, 13th JANUARY
10:00, 11:00, 12:00 hours: Departures from Los Cristianos (Juan Carlos I Avenue, opposite the Infanta Leonor Auditorium) and Playa de las Américas (Avenida Noelia Alfonso Cabrera, in front of the Zentral Center hotel) towards Arona
4:00 pm, 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm: Departures from Arona, with stops at (Juan Carlos I Avenue, opposite the Infanta Leonor Auditorium) in Los Cristianos, and (Noelia Alfonso Cabrera Avenue, in front of the Zentral Hotel Center), in Playa de las Américas.
🌟 SUNDAY, 13th JANUARY
10:00 Hours: Opening of the craft show – Plaza del Santísimo Cristo de la Salud, Arona.
11:00 am: Holy Mass sung by Parranda Chasnera. Parish San Antonio Abad
At the end: Traditional Pilgrimage, with the performances of the different municipal folk groups and guests. Route: El Calvario, Domínguez Alfonso, La Luna and Calle Duque de la Torre.
During the Pilgrimage: Traditional animal blessing.
4:00 pm: A Dance with the orchestras Wamampy and Tropin – Plaza del Santísimo Cristo de la Salud
On Thursday, January 17, the day of San Antonio Abad, a solemn mass will be celebrated. It will be attended by the mayor of Arona, José Julián Mena, who encourages both residents of the municipality and visiting tourists, to visit Arona during their patron saint festivities and discover the beauty, cultural and architectural value of the town as well as our beautiful resorts.