Every 5th of January, the town of Tejina, in the north-eastern region, turns for a few hours into the Bethlehem of two thousand years ago to welcome the Three Wise Men. The main square of the village is completely transformed to recreate the moment when the Three Majesties from the East offer the baby Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Epiphany is a day of fantasy for the whole family, especially for the little ones, who congregate in Tejina to honour the magic of Christmas.
Carnival in La Laguna is celebrated in a different manner. While in practically the whole island the streets are filled with feathers, rhythm and sequins, in the Ciudad de los Adelantados the carnival is celebrated by honouring the masters who for decades have preserved the tradition of our most international fiesta. In the form of exhibitions, workshops and meetings with the stars of the event, La Laguna pays tribute to the carnival as an expression of culture.
Springtime of young performers. Music from all four sides to welcome spring in La Laguna. Seclusion and tradition go hand in hand at the most important sacred music event in the Canary Islands. With more than fifteen editions held and almost two hundred concerts performed, the Canary Islands Religious Music Festival finds in La Laguna the perfect setting for its celebration. The Jazz and Modern Music Series “Primavera de jóvenes intérpretes” offers new musicians from the islands an ideal springboard to make themselves known to the general public and to music lovers a selection of the best songs of both styles.
The celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ takes on a special significance in La Laguna. In contrast to the celebration of this Christian tradition in the rest of Spain, the Easter Week in La Laguna is a unique event as it is the most faithful example of this commemoration in the Canary Islands. Every night the saints, accompanied by the different brotherhoods, walk through the streets of the old quarter. The culminating point of Holy Week in La Laguna is the Magna Procession, in which the different processional ‘pasos’ gathered in the Cathedral go out into the streets on Good Friday. We must not leave behind the Procession of Silence, held in the early morning, in which the dead Christ is carried to the Parish Church of Santo Domingo in absolute silence.
May is the month of the Canary Islands and the main traditions of our archipelago take on the prominence they deserve. The calendar of pilgrimages in the municipality, with more than a dozen of them, is wide and varied, but each year it is inaugurated by those of Las Mercedes and Valle de Guerra, in honour of San Isidro Labrador and Santa María de la Cabeza.
This month also includes the vital space that the music scene on the islands deserves. The Noche de Timpluras, in which the timple, a traditional Canarian instrument, is the star of the evening, is held in the exceptional setting of the Casa de Carta, in Valle Guerra. The cosmopolitan touch in the May agenda is provided by the Burguer Fest, which is organised in the old town where you can enjoy the tastiest and most original hamburgers from the island and other parts of the world.
June smells like flowers in La Laguna. The streets of the old quarter are dressed in carpets made from the petals and leaves of different plant species to celebrate Corpus Christi. From very early in the morning, masters of this ephemeral art are helped by hundreds of volunteers who experience this date with special devotion. These tapestries, which fill the city with colour, are preserved for only a few hours, for in the early afternoon religious tradition marks the departure of the procession that brings this temporary expression of art to an end. At the end of the month, the bonfires of San Juan light up the eve of the Saint’s festivity. They are especially striking in La Punta del Hidalgo, around the small chapel of “San Juanito”, next to the coast, dotted with puddles that reflect the fire of this ancestral tradition.
La Laguna is full of tradition in the Summer. Carts and pilgrims march through the streets of the town centre in one of the municipality’s main festivities, the pilgrimage of San Benito Abad. People from all over the island dressed in the traditional costumes of the archipelago, that stand out for their brightness and colourfulness, flood every corner of the old town on a day in which typical products of our island are shared out and served with good local wine. While this is happening inland, a different kind of procession takes place on the coast, the maritime procession of the Virgen del Carmen in Punta del Hidalgo. The patron saint of sailors is paraded through the waters of the municipality accompanied by hundreds of boats in a unique event.
The epicentre of the festivities in August moves to Tejina, with its traditional “Corazones” (hearts) as the absolute protagonists of the celebration in honour of St. Bartholomew. For weeks, the residents of three different areas of the town, Calle de Arriba, Calle de Abajo and El Pico, make huge hearts with flowers, fruit and flour cakes. The main square of the village is filled with colour on the day of the patron saint of Tejina, when the locals carry the hearts, weighing up to 900 kilos and 12 metres high, to the centre of the town. They place them there and an amusing ritual begins where each one mischievously criticises the other hearts. This event has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and is more than a hundred years old.
September brings the biggest celebration of La Laguna. The Fiestas del Cristo, with their extensive programme of events including concerts, dances and traditions, have for years been the most important celebration in the festive calendar of La Laguna. Every September in the grounds of Plaza del Cristo you can enjoy concerts by folkloric groups, performances by symphonic orchestras and shows by some of the most renowned artists of the moment. The spectacular pyrotechnic exhibition that closes these festivities is the perfect finale to a month marked by great celebrations in La Laguna. The most avant-garde and transgressive counterpoint in September is offered by the Roll Fest, which is held in Punta del Hidalgo and welcomes both fans of alternative sports and the best expression of urban culture of the moment in the archipelago.
When October arrives, it is the turn of the main festivities in the town of Valle de Guerra, which honour the Virgen del Rosario. The most important event of this celebration is the staging of La Librea, which has become the most representative symbol of the town’s identity. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2007, La Librea de Valle de Guerra has more than four centuries of history behind it and is always held on the Saturday after the 7th. The event begins with the procession of the Virgen del Rosario around the village church escorted by the squadron and its captain, dressed in period costumes and rifles in the style of those used in the 16th century. This is followed by a performance inspired by the historic Battle of Lepanto, which took place in 1571 between the naval fleet of the Turkish Empire and the armada of the Holy League, made up of soldiers and ships from Spain, the Papal States and Venice.
The penultimate month of the year is the month of wine par excellence. Throughout the month of November the different wineries prepare to celebrate the opening of the barrels thus enjoying the extraordinary quality of the wines of the islands. In La Laguna, tradition dictates that you should go from tasca to tasca in the old town or in the north-eastern region, and try the different varieties that are produced in our wine regions. Malvasía, young red, fruity white… these are just some of the variants available in our cellars that will delight wine lovers and those who are not so keen.
December is Christmas, and in La Laguna this endearing time of the year is experienced with all the magic of the festive season. From the celebration of the lighting of the festive illumination, everything in La Laguna radiates Christmas. The Christmas market, which is set up at Plaza del Adelantado, allows visitors to buy typical crafts from the archipelago. It has become a tradition to enjoy the Christmas Carols Festival, with choirs from all the islands, which takes place in the city’s churches, basilicas and convents. And what better way to bid farewell to the year than from the historic tower of the Church of La Concepción, listening to the sound of the bells that have been ringing every New Year’s Eve for centuries.