This weekend sees the start of the Fiestas Virgen del Carmen across Tenerife with the main event happening in Puerto de la Cruz on Tuesday.

The patron saint of seafarers and fishermen is the Virgin del Carmen who is an incarnation of the Virgin Mary. Her name derives from Mount Carmel in Israel. Every year on 16th July fishing villages around the coast of Tenerife celebrate this saint by holding spectacular festivals.

Fiesta Virgin del Carmen
Fiesta Virgin del Carmen

A statue of the virgin is taken from the local parish church and procession parades her through the streets ending up at the sea shore, either the beach or the harbour. She is then carried into the sea on the shoulders of fishermen or on a boat for the ritual, and then returned safely to shore.

The main fiesta on Tenerife is the one held in Puerto de la Cruz, were her image is taken from the Iglesia Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia (Church of Our Lady of the Rock of France) and is such an important event an entire evening’s live TV program is dedicated to this festival.The fiesta is celebrated with singing, dancing with fireworks and drinking.

This procession takes place on the Tuesday on or before the 16th July, the day starts at 8am with mass and over 100,000 people descend on the town for the days celebrations.

More info on official Puerto de la Cruz website.