Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Corpus Christi - La Orotava

La Villa de Orotava is reportedly one of the top cultural towns in Tenerife, and also holds the most spectacular feast of Corpus Christi every June. Artists from all over the island cover the cobbled streets and town hall square with religious motifs made from colorful flowers, colored soil, and colored sand. There are 35 flower carpets throughout the streets, and one main, 850 sq meter, sand carpet in front of the Ayuntamiento (council) building. The carpet making tradition originated back in 1847 by the Monteverde family.

The work on the main sand carpet begins weeks before the festival, but the individual flower carpets are started early on the morning of. Throughout the day, you can wander through the historical town and watch the artists at work. The carpets are generally completed by late afternoon, and then the evening procession destroys them all until the following year.

We had just arrived in Tenerife last June and were much too "green" to check out this festival back then...but, this year, we made a point in attending. Since we took the boys, we went late in the day so that all the carpets would be finished, and left before the procession in order to arrive back home for bedtime.

The town was beautiful and the streets were filled with food and sweets vendors as well as the beautiful carpets that everyone came to see. The roads with the carpets were very tight and people were funneled either up toward the council building or down through the streets alongside the carpets.

For the smaller carpets, rough drawings are made first, and frames are built for the main body, but then the intricate and most creative work is done by hand. Here are some photos of the smaller carpets:

The enormous carpet in front of the council building is made entirely of sand from Mount Teide which has not been altered in any way. The design is usually religious in nature, and none of them have ever been repeated. This main carpet recently entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest of its kind in the world. (Click on the picture to get a better idea - It's worth it)

After admiring the carpets, we wandered back to our car...checking out a pretty park, and stopping for a couple perritos along the way.

I think the boys preferred watching the helicopter, and running, jumping, and exploring the park much better than seeing the carpets, and it was very clear that they LOVED the few bites of hot dog we shared with them.

The Corpus Christi celebration in La Orotava is an excursion that is highly recommended, and will be repeated if we find ourselves in Tenerife another June.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Beautiful! They have so many neat festivals and traditions there...so cool that you get to see it all!