Fiesta de San Andres

4th Oct 2012
Fiesta de San Andres

By the time that November rolls around, most are happy to curl up under a duvet, put on the kettle and begin the count down to Christmas in the safety of their centrally heated homes. However, if you are planning some winter sun, you could always invest in some cheap flights to Tenerife and join in the festivities of Fiesta de San Andres which takes place on the 29th and 30th of November.

The festival is a raucous affair which celebrates the wonderful time of year when the wine producers crack open their cellar doors and invite all and sundry to come inside and sample their new wines.  Although the main focus of the festival is celebrating the harvest, there are a number of other activities going on across the island which are well worth a watch.

On the 29th, the Eve of Fiesta de San Andres, Puerto de la Cruz stages Arrastre las Caharros which, when translated literally, means “run with the pots and pans”. Legend has it that when San Andres (or Saint Andrew as he is better known in the UK) arrived on the island, he was more than willing to indulge in a few too many tipples and ended up passed out on the street. In order to wake him up, the children of the town tied whatever metal objects they could get their hands on to pieces of string and took to the streets aiming to make as much noise as humanely possible to ensure he could get no rest.

Toddlers kick off the celebrations early in the morning dragging tin cans and the like along the streets, much to the delight of their camera-toting parents. Throughout the day, the ages of the participants increases, as does the size and weight of the metal objects. As the festivities reach their crescendo, the strong young men of the town begin to drag empty oil cans, exhaust pipes, old washing machine drums and microwave ovens along the streets with the intention of making as much of a racket as possible. In order to achieve their aim, a “yoke” leads the way directing those dragging the items to each and every pothole.

In addition to the noisy antics, you can also marvel at the recklessness of the young men taking part in the Arrastre de las Tableros or “Riding the Boards”. The tradition originates from the ancient practice of rolling wine barrels down to the sea to clean them. The noise was a sign that the new wines were ready and thus, the time had arrived for celebration!

The riding of the boards requires steep streets so you will only be able to witness the phenomenon in hilly towns such as Lcod de las Vinos and La Guancha. Needless to say it is mostly young men who are willing to compete in the risky task of greasing up boards of wood and racing down to the finishing line of a huge pile of tyres.

After all of this, the wine tasting may come as welcome relief from all the noise! The 30th November is a community affair. You will be given samples of wine in plastic cups and can feast on freshly roasted chestnuts, sardines and sweet potatoes. You may think that November is a time for hibernation but why not go and seek some warmth away from the fire and enjoy some unusual entertainment.


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