Departing to Tenerife in December, be sure, that you won’t be bored: this is the month of preparation for Christmas – the most anticipated and joyful Catholic holiday. At the beginning of the month on the streets of the Canary towns you will see windows decorated with garlands and Christmas balls, in souvenir shops you will be confused by the abundance of Christmas gifts, in the evenings you will admire beautiful illumination. And what else will surprise you with the Canaries in December?
December 6 in Tenerife, as throughout Spain, is celebrating Constitution Day. You will not see any special celebrations on the island. But it is worth knowing that this is a day off, so government offices and many museums and parks are closed at this time.
Canaries are practicing Catholics. They celebrate their holidays with great chic and scope. In December, in addition to Christmas, the Catholic calendar has another important religious date.
December 8, Tenerife celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary (Inmaculada Concepcion). The Virgin is the heavenly patroness of all of Spain (mainland and island), so she is very loved and revered on the Canary Island. In Tenerife there are many churches, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. But on December 8, the main attention of the inhabitants and guests of the island was riveted to the temples, called Iglecia de la Concepcion (Church of the Inmaculate Conception). One of the churches is located in the island’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Founded in the early 16th century, it is famous for its architecture and the relic of the Holy Cross, which the Spanish conquistadors brought with them in 1496. The Second Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is located in one of the oldest and most interesting towns in Tenerife – La Orotava.
But the main Iglecia de la Concepcion is in the old capital of Tenerife, the city of San Cristobal de la Laguna. You can get there from Santa Cruz by public transport in Tenerife in 30-40 minutes. The La Laguna Temple is the first Catholic church, built by the Spanish conquerors in the Canary Islands. On December 8, when you are in La Laguna, La Orotava and Santa Cruz, you can visit the festive services and see the solemn processions of citizens and priests. By the city streets carry statues of the Virgin. Playing live music (orchestra), illuminated is shining. Especially widely celebrated on December 8 in La Laguna. There the bishop of the city marches at the head of the procession. From the evening of this day, Canaries live in anticipation of Christmas. Christmas markets open on the streets, where you can taste winter sweets and buy holiday gifts for relatives and friends.
In Tenerife on December 8, poinsettia, or the “Christmas star” (flor de Navidad), appears on store shelves. This beautiful plant with green leaves and red stipules in Spain is considered the “flower of the holy night.” In December, they decided to decorate their homes, as well as cafes, offices, banks, mail. Flowers are planted on flower beds in the Canary streets and built from plants Christmas installations that look colorful and luxurious.
In the second decade of December, tourists can see Christmas trees and belens (from the Spanish Belen – nativity scene) on the streets and churches of Tenerife, installations showing the Nativity of Jesus (nurseries, figures of Mary, Joseph and the Baby).
Christmas Eve in the Canaries is celebrated, as throughout Europe, on December 24th. This is a family holiday, when all relatives gather under one roof and have a gala dinner. At the festive table there are traditional dishes: seafood, sauces, as well as sweets (turron, assad leche, marzipan, polvorones cookies). After eating, the Canaries go to the square and sing kolenda – Christmas songs. Some locals dance the traditional Baile del Niño (Baby dance), dressing in special costumes. At 24.00, religious residents of Tenerife attend night service at the church.
December 25 is a Christmas holiday. In the morning, many temples of the island host solemn services. Canaries give each other presents and continue to have fun with their families.
The last week of December and the calendar year is a time of joy and expectation on the 31st. You can read about how the New Year is celebrated in the Canaries in the article “Holidays in January in Tenerife”. Write in the comments if you managed to attend any holidays of the island in the winter, and what you liked most. See you soon!