Wine, potatoes and music to savor the Tegueste pilgrimage after three years of hiatus

To the rhythm of the chácaras, with the flavor of wine and wrinkled potatoes and under an indefatigable sun, thousands of people gathered this Sunday to celebrate the Tegueste pilgrimage in Tenerife, one of the most massive popular festivities on the island, after three years of stoppage due to the pandemic.

The expectation for the festivity in honor of San Marcos Evangelista collapsed the stores selling typical costumes in the days prior to the celebration, which brought together more than 30,000 people, according to City Hall figures, who wore their best clothes and proudly showed the embroidered details of their vests and skirts.

In this way Tenerife gives the starting signal to the time of pilgrimages throughout the Canary Islands, a festival that honors in numerous towns of the archipelago the traditions and customs, both aboriginal and those established after the conquest by Spain at the beginning of the year 1500, linked especially agriculture and livestock.

The day was marked by the movement of the 18 carts carefully decorated by the residents, who make large drawings made up of small toasted seeds and then parade through the streets of Tegueste distributing wine, wrinkled potatoes, gofio pellets and even meat.

Folkloric groups enlivened the day by singing to the patron saint of the municipality, San Marcos Evangelista, to the memory of the ancient inhabitants of Tenerife, the Guanches, and to the love stories of a time when life in towns was limited and displacements almost an odyssey.

This tradition was born from one of those trips, which for more than 50 years has filled the streets of the small municipality of Tenerife with flavors, smells and songs of joy, where only 11,000 people reside during the year, when a group of choirs and dances from Tegueste attended in 1967 to the Garachico pilgrimage, located in the extreme north of the island.

Upon returning to the town, the Teguesteros decided to celebrate their particular festival in honor of San Marcos Evangelista and in 1969 they launched an event that is already a symbol of island identity and that suffered due to the covid-19 pandemic. the only stop in its history.

The preparations began months ago, with the making of the costumes, the decorations and the carts, but also very early today, with the preparation of the food and drink stalls, as well as the movement of the goats, donkeys and oxen from the farmers in the area.

One of them, José Carlos, explained to EFE with a glass of wine in his hand that he himself had been in the center of town since five in the morning, getting his goats ready together with various relatives.

For another close group, nerves are the main issue. One of them, Eduardo Cabrera, indicated that this is a special occasion “because three years ago” it was not allowed to meet in a space like this, where “everyone could be, share traditional food and celebrate Canarian culture.”

After the tour carried out by the saint and the carts, people began to shelter from the sun and enjoy dancing typical dances such as isas and tajarastes, warming up their engines for the rest of a day that is expected to celebrate the return of the festivities in style. traditional.

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