Easter in Tenerife is unforgettable – even if you are not religious, you can’t help getting caught up in the tradition and solemnity of the celebration.
During the week, the streets are filled with people as processions of elaborate ‘tronos’ – some weighing up to six tons – are carried slowly around the towns, accompanied by sacred songs and a slow drum beat.
The processions, organised by religious brotherhoods or ‘cofradias’, are followed by ‘nazarenos’, dressed in coloured tunics, cone-shaped hoods and masks reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan in the USA. However, the strange headgear has no sinister significance as the cones symbolise a rising upward, bringing the penitents closer to the heavens.
If you want to see a little slice of ‘real’ Spain on your Easter holiday, the processions are a ‘must do’ event. Followed by some tapas and a glass (or two) of local wine, the experience will leave you feeling privileged and satisfied that sun, sea and sangria is not all that this beautiful island has to offer.
Celebrated all over the island in February, Carnaval is Europe’s biggest festival of anarchy.
Extravagant (if often rather skimpy!) costumes, masks and erotic themes comprise a huge part of the spectacle, and satirical songs and skits mocking popular public figures are all part of the light-hearted fun. Islanders spend months designing and making costumes and preparing acts before Carnaval finally gets into full swing with the election of the Carnaval Queen, while the off-beat ‘Burial of the Sardine’ ritual in Santa Cruz marks the return to day-to-day normality.
You can’t help getting caught up in the noise and colour of Carnaval – with or without a fancy costume – and either Santa Cruz or Puerto de la Cruz are the best places to join in.