(click to enlarge photos)
Every year during the June Celebrations of Corpus Christi in the beautiful old town of La Orotava on the north west coast of Tenerife, there are some events which are rarely equaled elsewhere in the world for their uniqueness and high level of craftsmanship. One of these events is the formation of an enormous sand carpet mural, this year 870 meters square, made from natural coloured volcanic sands taken from the caldera of the island's volcano, El Teide.
Sand Carpets from 2007
At the same time, on the last day of the fiestas, flower carpets of intricate designs are made from fresh petals to cover the streets of the town. These are the famous 'alfombras' of La Orotava. I will show some photos of these soon as this year's celebrations are already underway and will continue until 30 June, 2009.
Making the Flower Carpets
But one celebration which is especially enjoyed by locals and visitors is the procession of the Romeria during the fiestas of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of agriculture, also held in June. Here is where the local Canary people dress in their traditional costumes, with slight differences in the style and colour which denote the town or area from which they come.
The procession is formed by dozens of oxen-drawn carts, each one decorated with farm implements, fruit and vegetables, wine barrels and little stoves on which sausages, kebabs and other meats are cooked before, during and after the procession, as it moves from the highest point where the oxen and carts are assembled down through the streets of the town.
It is a joyous event with much music, singing and dancing. The regulations for participating are quite strict and those in the procession must adhere to the traditional dress of their ancestors with no modern embellishments such as watches or sunglasses.
Here is a slideshow of photos (full screen) that I took during the fiestas of 2007, when I spent a morning watching the preparations before the procession, taking candid photos of the participants, their oxen and carts.
Small version of slideshow here below.