The calendar of pilgrimages for this new year 2023 in Tenerife has not taken long to open, and it has done so in style, with the return to normality of the pilgrimage of San Antonio Abad de Aronathe earliest of popular island festivals. The historic center of the southern municipality woke up on Sunday, January 15, decked out in traditions and practically no one, neither residents nor tourists, wanted to miss this event in which the most varied animals also shared the leading role of the day.
Visitors were also noticed in this pilgrimage that had not been held since 2020 due to the covid pandemic and that this time it has returned with all its details, including the distribution of food from the six carts that participated in the tour. Almost 200 tourists They were transferred from different points of the municipality to the historic center, where they enjoyed the traditions that caught their attention so much. “Are they castanets?” Some visitors asked, to which the residents of the place specified that they were chácaras that enlivened traditional dances.
More than 400 years of history, this day of celebration began at ten in the morning with the opening of the craft exhibition and an hour later the Holy Mass sung by the Parranda Chasnera was celebrated in the San Antonio Abad parish. A few minutes after noon the first chords of traditional music began to sound and the dancers from El Hierro began to move towards the temple to accompany the saint’s exit. At that moment, hundreds of cameras and mobile phones were raised and the tourists began to record everything that was happening so as not to lose any detail.
As is tradition, the mayor of Arona, Jose Julian Mena, and members of the Municipal Corporation transported on their shoulders the carving of San Antonio Abad through the Plaza del Cristo de la Salud until they placed it in the cart with which the pilgrimage began, which lasted for an hour through the nearby streets. Precisely the mayor indicated that “it is a joy to see so many people return to celebrate our pilgrimage in honor of San Antonio Abad after two years without being able to enjoy them normally.” Mena recalled that it is a festivity “that has the devotion of many people in our municipality” and also highlighted “the love, effort and dedication that many residents have put in, especially the public workers of this Corporation, to move forward this festival that connects with our agricultural origins, and that allows us to spread the heritage that Arona possesses”. In this way, he emphasized that one of the objectives of this celebration is to connect “with the tourism sector to show them that the municipality is a destination that has a lot to offer, in addition to the sun and the beach.”
Loreto Cardona She was one of the almost 200 tourists who came to the historic center of Arona to enjoy this pilgrimage for the first time. This Barcelonan has visited Tenerife with her husband and friends up to 16 times but they always take advantage of each new trip to discover new corners and traditions of the Island. “Today we had another plan but at the hotel reception they told us that this pilgrimage was being held and Since we had never seen it before, we decided to go up from Las Américas, where we are staying, and the truth is that we are liking it a lot”, said the traveler while waiting for those attending the mass to leave the parish to be able to enter and take some photographs of the place.
María González is from Guargacho, in San Miguel de Abona, and she did not miss this appointment either, during which she did not put down her mobile phone to take photos to later show to her friends who could not get close to Arona. Olga Oliva She is a neighbor of this municipality in the south of Tenerife and assured that “after two years without it being held, the pilgrimage was already missed.” She was totally happy because yesterday many people came to the historic center of this municipality and because this pilgrimage is the first to be held every year on the island, which makes her totally proud of her city.
In addition to the almost 200 tourists who went to the center of Arona, some 150 older that filled all the terraces set up for the festivities. El Ventorrillo de Pedrito is one of those establishments that was installed in the Plaza del Cristo de la Salud this weekend and its manager indicated, while he did not stop cooking meat on the grill, that the influx of customers had been constant during the three opening days, so he was delighted that the parties have finally returned to the street.
But the terraces were not the only place where visitors were able to eat something since the end of all the restrictions due to the health crisis allowed six carts who were part of the pilgrimage, food was delivered to the public. “They are throwing things!” Shouted the tourists who were not familiar with this tradition and who were surprised that wrinkled potatoes, figs, gofio or wine were distributed. After this curious lunch, another of the most outstanding moments of the day began, the blessing of the animals, which was interspersed with the performance of different groups that once again filled the streets of the historic center of Arona with outstanding songs from the Canarian songbook such as Two steps forward, two steps back. The municipality hosts the festivities in honor of its patron since last Thursday and will continue on Tuesday, since it is January 17 when the saint’s festival is celebrated, which will once again take to the streets of the historic center of Arona in procession.
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