Any excuse for a party in Puerto

They seldom need much of an excuse for a fiesta in Tenerife.

But in Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island they’re planning two fiestas in one day on Thursday May 3.

First up are celebrations to honour the founding of the town way back in 1651, involving elaborate and colourful processions through the streets.

Before that Puerto was part of the neighbouring town of La Orotava and and indeed was known as Puerto de La Orotava.

Puerto had grown in importance because the merchants and traders of prosperous La Orotava needed an outlet for their goods to be shipped off to the Spanish mainland.

The Spanish settlers weren’t the first to appreciate the potential afforded by this sheltered little bay. There is evidence that the native Guanche people, who inhabited the island before the Hispanic conquest, had chosen this same site for a cave settlement on the cliffs of what is now the up-market La Paz area of the town.

The second of the celebrations is the Fiesta de la Cruz, or Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Fixed crosses are set out in various parts of the town garlanded with floral decorations that have evolved over long periods of time.

Crosses are a distinct feature of the town and can be found everywhere, on the external walls of buildings, in chapels and ermitas, which Puerto has in abundance, and on public buildings.

Each cross has its own style of decoration, some highly colourful, others entirely in shades of the same colour. A variety of materials are used in the decorations, too, such as timber reclaimed from shipwrecks.

One particular cross, in Calle Mequinez, is decorated with fish bones and scales.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 29th, 2007 at 12:00 pm and is filed under About Tenerife, Festivals, Puerto de la Cruz.


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