Tenerife at Christmas
20 December, 2016
Christmas in Tenerife is characterised by the mild climate and the lively, festive street atmosphere in all corners of the island. Cities like La Laguna and Santa Cruz are decked out in colourful poinsettias and Christmas decorations, endowing the streets with a special flamboyance. A host of cultural activities are scheduled for the season, including concerts, exhibitions, theatre plays, traditional celebrations, crib displays, craft fairs, etc. Among the standout events is the Christmas concert on 25 December at Puerto de Santa Cruz, performed by the Symphonic Orchestra of Tenerife. As is to be expected, the festive season also features a host of activities for the little ones, notably the Parque Infantil de Tenerife (Tenerife Children’s Park). To round off the experience, make a point of trying the traditional confectionery on sale at this time of year. Here are some of the features that make this season one of the year’s most engaging in Tenerife.
Activities for Children
Youngsters have a range of activities to choose from at Christmas time, but the one everyone waits for with baited breath is the PIT (Parque Infantil y Juvenil de Tenerife) (Tenerife Children’s and Juvenile Park), a genuine amusement park which is hosted in The Tenerife International Centre for Trade Fairs and Congresses from mid-December until the beginning of January.
The PIT first opened in 1989 and has staged innovative and extremely entertaining activities ever since. It is usually divided into forty-five entertainment and game areas where a team of 200 people chaperone visitors every day. Dozens of activities are hosted in this park, all of them designed for children or youngsters, although families will also find places where they can have a great time.
Another of our proposals is located in Puerto de la Cruz, specifically in the church of Peña de Francia, where the Children’s and Juvenile Choral Assembly is organised by the Reyes Bartlet Choir around this time each year.
And, lastly, in the south of Tenerife, in one of Spain’s most cutting-edge buildings, the Magma Arte & Congresos on the Costa Adeje, you can have a great time on the skating rink – 720 square metres of a 5-star ice rink where you feel as if you were opposite the Rockefeller Center in New York, the Natural History Museum of London or the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. A unique attraction for all the family which you should make a point of visiting. Take note!
Customs and Traditions
Needless to say, Christmas in Tenerife is charged with customs and tradition, involving theatre plays, masses, parades, etc. Many of the events that are held here have been celebrated year after year for centuries.
The misas de la luz (light masses) are one of the most popular religious events in the Canary Islands. They date from 1768, according to the last will and testament of the nobleman, Alonso de Medina. Running from 16 to 25 December, they are held at various points in the archipelago. Hundreds of people in the congregation gather just before six in the morning, when mass is due to start, and sing Christmas carols at the church entrances. One of the most exciting moments occurs on 23 December, when the retinue files through the towns and villages and takes part in communal singing and dancing.
Another long-standing tradition on the island is Christmas crib-making. A profusion of highly original cribs are displayed in numerous public and private buildings around Tenerife. Among the most famous of them is the one in the headquarters of CajaCanarias, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, or the one hosted at El Cabildo, also in the island’s capital, in addition to those exhibited in town halls and other public buildings.
The islands boast a huge variety of sweets and at Christmas the vast array of confectionery focuses on more specialised offerings. Homemade Christmas candies can be savoured in numerous corners of the archipelago and the most popular ingredients are millo (corn), almonds, honey and fruit.
One of the most typical Christmas candies on the island are the so-called truchas, although they can be found all year around. They consist of patties filled with sweet potato, angel’s hair pumpkin and, sometimes, custard. Their preparation is straightforward and they are usually made in all homes.
Get going and enjoy a Christmas getaway to Tenerife – book your Vueling here.
Text and photos by Turismo Tenerife
20 December, 2016