Isle of Tenerife

They know how to throw a party in Puerto

The Carmen Festival in Tenerife

Carmen Festival Tenerife

Party time is in full swing in the northern Tenerife resort of Puerto de la Cruz, which is in the middle of its annual July fiestas.

The main festivities of Carmen Festival in Tenerife pay tribute to the Gran Poder and the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saints of the town.

A wide range of typical activities are organised in the course of the month, but the undoubted highlight comes on the second Tuesday of the month – this year July 17 – when the Virgen del Carmen (pictured above) is paraded through the narrow cobbled streets before being loaded on to a boat and taken out to sea.

The day draws huge crowds, as witnessed in the picture below, with families camping out overnight around the little harbour to ensure they get the best places.

It’s a typical Canarian family day, with all generations joining in the fun.

Similar celebrations are held all over Tenerife at around the same time but few are as spectacular or as moving as the processions in Puerto.

Fiesta del Carmen Tenerife

In addition to her many duties, the Virgen del Carmen is the patron saint of fishermen and the local fisherfolk consider it a great honour to be chosen to carry the enormous statute down to the harbour for her annual outing.

As they stagger and sway through the streets under the weight of the figure, the fishermen are hemmed in by hordes of onlookers desparate not only to see the spectacle but also to try to touch Carmen for luck.

As Carmen arrives at the harbour to be carried down to the water’s edge, the temperature of the occasion rises sharply as her progress is marked by the singing of Ave Maria.

It’s a moment charged with high emotion for the by now tens of thousands of people packed around the harbour, clinging to the sea wall or watching from the crowded balconies of the surrounding high buildings.

The statue is eventually lashed to a simple fishing vessel that looks as though it will sink under the combined weight of Carmen and her enormous entourage (see below) and the party edges its way through scores of tiny boats packed into the harbour as tightly as proverbial sardines.

carmen festival, puerto de la cruz

This entry was posted on Monday, July 16th, 2007 at 6:00 am and is filed under About Tenerife, Festivals, Photo-Blog, Puerto de la Cruz.


2 Responses to “They know how to throw a party in Puerto”

  1. Joe Cawley Says:
    July 20th, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Great photos, Ken. Any idea where I can get more info on the Puerto Carnival?


  2. Steve Horst Says:
    July 23rd, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Ken,
    I have some friends attending the festival, wondered where i could get some more photo’s of the festival?


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