La Palma - Fiestas

Christmas and the Feast of the Three Wise Men
The crib is to the Spanish what the Christmas tree is to us in the North. Whole countryside's with houses, animals and working folk are constructed. Families dine together on Christmas Eve and later they attend midnight mass. Father Christmas visits only a few houses bearing a token gift, as the big presents are always brought by the Three Wise Men. On the evening of the 5th of January the three kings ride in on their camels, followed by a procession of pagans and servants all looking for the baby Jesus, to worship him.



New Year's Eve and New Year's Day
On New Year's Eve people go out, gents in tuxedo and ladies in evening dress. Restaurants are packed. At midnight, on the toll of each bell a grape is eaten for good luck - then off to the dance to ring in the New Year.
Festival of the almond blossom - Puntagorda - End of January / Beginning of February
The almond-blossom festival of Puntagorda is one of the biggest festivals of the island. People get together, catch up on the local gossip, eat roast almonds, drink wine and dance the night away. The highlight of the two-day festival is the poetry and folk festival on the Sunday.
Carnival - the next best thing to Rio - February/March
Carnival in the Canary Islands is a unique, explosive and erotic cocktail of South American and Spanish influences and local customs. The highlight of this crazy festival is the Day of the "Indians" in Santa Cruz on Carnival Monday, nomination of the Carnival Queen in Los Llanos and the burial of the Sardine on the Friday after Ash Wednesday in both Santa Cruz and Los Llanos and again in Los Sauces one month later.
Holy Week and Easter - Palm Sunday - Easter Sunday
The saints, surrounded by candles and incense, make their way out of the churches accompanied by the dull thuds of the drum. The bigger processions are followed by the brotherhoods with their hooded cloaks and chains. Religious fervour fills the night lit streets.
The day of the Holy Cross - Santa Cruz and Las Breñas - End of April - mid May
The 3rd of May is one of the most important festive days on the island. This day commemorates the conquest of the island and the founding of its capital in 1493. The inhabitants of Las Breñas and Santa Cruz spend weeks decorating the crosses on the caminos reales (old paths) in preparation.
Cattle fair of San Isidro - Breña Alta - Mid-May
On this day, a large cattle fair is held in San Isidro, Breña Alta in honour of the saint of the agricultural community, and the nicest cow is awarded a prize. This is a lively event!
Virgen del Carmen- San Andrés, Fuencaliente, Tazacorte - Mid-June
Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of the seafarer, in La Palma keeps vigil at the little village of Las Tricias (Garafía) and protects the seafarer from shipwreck. She is devoutly worshipped in the whole island. The celebrations in San Andrés, Fuencaliente, Tazacorte and Santa Cruz are usually during the weekend before or after the 16th July. In the small summer resorts on the coast this is often not celebrated until the holidays, in August or September. The revered virgin lives in a small chapel by the sea. On the big day she leaves the chapel and sails out to sea.
Corpus Christi - Mazo - One and a half weeks after Pentecost
In Mazo, the Corpus Christi procession passes over flower carpets and under colourful arches several metres high, all of them made of petals, ferns, moss and seeds. Corpus Christi is to Mazo what "Blessing of the fields" is to Tijarafe and "Jesus' heart" to El Paso. Carpets made of coloured salts are customary in Tijarafe, as are wall hangings made of painted eggshells in El Paso.
Cattle fair of San Antonio del Monte - Garafía - Mid-June
San Antonio del Monte, a long-standing traditional festival is one of the most important cattle fairs of the islands. Half of La Palma gathers here to sample goats' cheese, drink vino de tea (heart wood wine), dance and admire the local cows, goats, sheep and the shepherds' dog of Garafía.
La Patrona - Los Llanos - Mid-June - Beginning of July
The Virgen de los Remedios is not only patron saint of Los Llanos, she also watches over the valley of Aridane and is celebrated accordingly. The secret capital of the island loses its tranquility for three whole weeks.
Bajada de La Virgen de Las Nieves - Santa Cruz - Mid-June - Beginning of August
The "Virgin of the snow", patron saint of the island, has been coming down from Las Nieves to the island capital every five years since 1676, when she saved the island from a catastrophic drought. Over hundreds of years, what was once a simple procession has evolved into the biggest event on the island - Bajada de la Virgen as it is known today. This is one of the most beautiful and important festivals of the Canary Islands. The next Bajada will take place in the year 2005. Meanwhile the people celebrate his patron saint with a month full of masses and processions.
Virgen del Rosario - Barlovento - End of July - Beginning of August
Every three years - the next one will be in the year 2003 - the Christians fight the Moors in Barlovento. It was on the day of the Madonna of the garland of roses that the "Holy League" triumphed against the Turks in Lepanto in 1571.
Virgen del Pino - El Paso - End of August - Beginning of September
The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in the huge pine which casts a shadow over the pilgrimage chapel. And here, at the foot of the Cumbre (summit), people gather on the first Sunday of September for the Fiesta del Monte. Every three years the "Virgin of the pine" descends to El Paso - the next time being in the year 2003.
Fiesta del Diablo - Tijarafe - End of August - Beginning of September
The devil's festival of Tijarafe is by far the most spectacular festival of the island. On the night of the 7th September, the devil dances through the crowds at the village square crackling and spitting fire.
San Miguel - Tazacorte - Mid - End of September
On 29th September 1492, Holy Michael Day, Alonso Fernández de Lugo landed at Tazacorte and began the conquest of the island. This is the reason La Palma is named for the archangel Michael. The highlight of the festival in honour of the island saint is the Caballos fufos parade. 20 cane horses, dressed in colourful paper, dance through the streets, lead by a giraffe, on the night of 28th September.


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