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Santa Cruz de Tenerife

May Festivities in Santa Cruz

The city was founded on 3rd May 1494, a historical event that is commemorated each year. Santa Cruz dresses in all her traditional finery for this floral month. The streets are festooned with floral crossed, and local cuisine and folklore come together to fill the city with music, wonderful aromas and flavours.
The main squares of Plaza de España, Plaza de La Candelaria and Alameda del Duque de Santa Elena are packed with tables on the night of 2nd May, the eve of the anniversary of the city. Families and friends in traditional costume get together to feast on local dishes, made according to recipes handed down from generation to generation. Music fills the air and celebrations spill over into the early hours of the morning amidst laughter and dancing. This popular event is known as the Baile de Magos.
May month is packed with cultural and historical celebrations, religious processions and romerías or festivities. All kinds of competitions also take place, ranging from gastronomy and sports to cattle shows and traditional games, including Canary Island wrestling and the pole game.

See the Fiestas 2008 programme at Downloads


The effigy of Judas is made of straw, branches and cords made from banana plants, all on a frame of poles covered with old clothes and accessories. Everything is done in strict silence. The effigy is made by the men, who then parade it through the streets all night. They are accompanied by musical groups playing guitars, lutes, timples (a small, 5-string guitar), triangles, etc. At mid-day on Sunday, the effigy is put to the torch near the church.

Whilst the bonfires and the effigies burn, and fireworks are let off, the whole town celebrates with wine and rum, thus bringing the Easter week festivities to an end.


(Also celebrated in Playa de San Juan and Alcalá)
This fiesta is held on the Sunday closest to the 16th of July in Santa Cruz, followed by Playa San Juan, the first Sunday in August, and Playa de Alcalá, which, unlike the other towns, worships La Virgen de Candelaria. 

The same rituals take place in all three places. The Virgin, preceded by a ribbon dance, is taken from her church to the beach, where boats and launches, decorated with coloured flags, await. The Virgin is taken by fishermen on board a boat that has been chosen for the honour of carrying the Virgin in a lottery. The dancers, the standard, mystics and the priest all accompany the Virgin. The boats' sirens and the instruments of the musicians are heard without pause, throughout the procession.

After the sea voyage, the Virgin returns to the shore, where she is placed on an altar in the bay. After a fireworks display, she is taken back to the church.

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