Holy Week has been widely celebrated in the Canary Islands since medieval times. The largest island of Tenerife is no exception, and its historic towns are the scene of countless religious ceremonies and street processions during the week leading up to Holy Week.
The celebration begins on Palm Sunday and continues until Easter day. During the solemn season, most congregations have at least one daily procession with a religious service. But, the most notable day is Good Friday which commemorates the death and burial of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Week processions in Tenerife
The most memorable processions involve members of different religious brotherhoods. The iconic “penitentes” wear long capes with pointed hoods that fully cover their faces and reveal only their eyes. Other participants in the solemn parades are the “nazarenos” who usually walk barefoot wearing shackles or large wooden crosses.
In addition, it is common for dozens of people to parade through the streets with huge floats carrying heavy religious statues. The parades move painfully slowly, traditionally accompanied by somber religious music played by a brass band.
Where to see the Holy Week celebrations in Tenerife
The most elaborate Easter festivities take place in the most traditional towns on the island, specifically in Güímar, La Orotava, Garachico, Candelaria, Los Realejos, Puerto de la Cruz and the capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The most famous celebration is held in San Cristóbal de la Laguna, the religious center of Tenerife and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The procession of Silence in La Laguna
The special occasion that you cannot miss in La Laguna is its Good Friday evening procession, also called the Procession of Silence. The town is completely silent, the street lights are turned off and everything is lit only by candles. The parade of the pious brotherhood starts around 9:30 p.m. from the Iglesia de la Concepción. A slow beat punctuated by an ominous drumbeat creates a soulful and slightly unnerving atmosphere that you will never forget.
Easter Sunday Celebration
Easter Sunday brings the joy of the Resurrection and also lots of food. Lent is over, so families celebrate with local delicacies like sancocho (salted fish served with potatoes), gofio (traditional grain) and mojo, the typical Canary sauce.
Source: Isla de Tenerife Vivela