From Vine to Celebration: Tenerife's Romería Festival Revealing the Island's Wine and Heritage
Canary Island, Spain
Picture yourself amidst the joyous crowd, where ladies gracefully dance in bright dresses, musicians play traditional instruments, and the air is filled with the laughter of children handling your delectable snacks from beautifully adorned carriages pulled by the mules.
The procession pauses at intervals, allowing the spectators to bask in the joyful performances and fill their glasses with cold wine from the barrels.
Welcome to the San Isidro Labrador Romería Festival in La Orotava, Tenerife , a mesmerizing spectacle that transports you to a world steeped in tradition, vibrant costumes, and an abundance of local flavors.
A Spectacular Festival that Transports You Through Time
The break of dawn in the historic city of La Orotava marks the beginning of a beautiful festival that transports you through time, evoking a nostalgic sense of stepping into a time machine.
As the day unfolds, the authenticity of the celebrations permeates every moment. The procession gracefully parades along the main streets, enchanting onlookers with its vivid colors and lively music.
Finally, it reaches the main square, where a gastronomic paradise awaits. Spectators eagerly line both sides of the road, immersing themselves in the joyous ambiance, indulging in a delightful array of treats.
From the iconic papas arrugadas, perfectly wrinkled potatoes, to eggs prepared with care, and delectable sweets made from traditional corn flour, the options are enticing. The air is tantalizingly scented with the aroma of traditional mojo sauces, grilled seafood, and succulent meats. Amidst the cheerfulness, there is one common thread that unites the revelers—a wine glass, gracefully hanging from each neck, refilled with every passing carriage, symbolizing the shared toast and celebration of this momentous occasion.
Become Local for a Day!
One cannot help but be captivated by the meticulously crafted costumes worn during the Romería. Both men and women don traditional attire, with men sporting embroidered shirts, wide-brimmed straw hats adorned with colorful ribbons, and trousers intricately decorated with exclusive motifs. Women, on the other hand, dazzle in brightly colored, hand-stitched dresses known as "trajes de maga." These costumes not only reflect the island's rich textile heritage, adding an enchanting allure to the festivities, but they also unite people. So even foreigners wearing traditional clothes can become locals for a day! You can even rent a place in the traditional carriage and join the procession, distributing snacks and wine to people around you.
History Behind the Event
The origins of the San Isidro Labrador Romería (i.e. pilgrimage) can be traced back to the 18th century when the island's agricultural communities sought the blessings of San Isidro for a fruitful harvest. Farmers and locals would gather to offer their prayers, express gratitude, and seek protection for their crops. Over time, this humble gathering evolved into a grand procession and celebration, filled with music, dance, and cultural rituals. Nowadays this event holds immense cultural significance. The procession is a symbol of unity and community spirit, as locals join together in a shared celebration of their traditions and faith.
The Role of Wine:
In true Canarian fashion, wine holds a prominent role in Romería. The offerings of wine symbolize the importance of viticulture and winemaking in the region's agricultural heritage. After the Spanish conquest of Tenerife in the 15th century, wine production on the island flourished under Spanish rule, with vineyards expanding and wine becoming an integral part of the island's economy and culture. Nowadays Tenerife's wine scene is experiencing a renaissance, with a growing emphasis on wine tourism.
Wineries like Monje offer unique experiences, including helicopter rides and immersive wine burlesque shows. Beyond the well-known beach destination, Tenerife surprises visitors with its abundance of small, authentic wine producers to explore, as well as cheese factories that add to the island's impressive gastronomic tapestry.
Romeria is not only a celebration that showcases the rich cultural heritage of Tenerife but also serves as a reminder of the island's close relationship with the land, its bountiful harvests, and the significance of wine in the archipelago. Join the next festive event and experience the local gourmet pleasures, culture, history, and heritage through a glass (or 10!) of wonderful fresh mineral Canary wines!
Tips for Festival-Goers
Choose the Romeria you want to attend (There are many Romerias happening during summer in all the major cities of Teenrife. Best ones are in La Laguna, La Orotava, and the ancient wine port of Garachico)
Plan your trip according to the Romeria dates. Tenerife can be easily reached by plane from major European cities, as well as high-speed ferries that connect the islands of the archipelago.
Prepare your traditional Canarian costume, you can buy or rent one. And don’t forget your wine glass!
After a great festive day full of events you can head to one of Tenerife’s spectacular beaches for a refreshing swim!
What else to do in Tenerife
Explore the stunning landscapes of Teide National Park and ascend Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain.
Visit the vibrant capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and experience its lively atmosphere, shopping districts, and cultural events.
Delight in the unique landscapes of Masca, a picturesque mountain village known for its stunning views and hiking trails.
Discover the charming colonial architecture and historic streets of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Take a boat excursion to observe whales and dolphins in their natural habitat off the coast of Tenerife.
Immerse yourself in the rich marine life and explore the underwater world through scuba diving or snorkeling.
Explore wineries. The majority of Tenerife's vineyards are situated in the island's north, particularly close to Tacoronte, La Orotava, and Icod de los Vinos.
Discover the charm of traditional villages such as Garachico, an ancient wine port, and Icod de los Vinos, known for their historical sites and natural attractions like the ancient Dragon Tree.
Indulge in the local cuisine, sampling traditional Canarian dishes like papas arrugadas, gofio, and fresh seafood.
Experience the lively nightlife and entertainment in areas like Puerto de la Cruz and Costa Adeje.