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The Hearts of Tejina 

PAGE 23

Tenerife has many ancient traditions and most of them move with the times.

“The Hearts of Tejina” has a history stretching back many years and is thought to have been instigated some time in the early to mid-1800s.

Today, however, organisers believe in keeping up-to-date with all developments. Their Facebook page is particularly popular and you can find out what is going on during the fiestas in honour of Tejina’s patron, San Bartolomé on www.facebook.com/fiestatejina2013.

Festivities began on August 16th and continue until September 1st but the main event is on August 25th when the hearts take centre-stage.

Tejina is within the district of La Laguna and counts on the support of its residents and those of neighbouring areas to make it a tremendous success. There is, in fact, intense rivalry between the districts of El Pico, Calle Arriba and Calle Abajo who are responsible for creating the giant hearts which are paraded through the town. Those participating include Bajamar, Punta Hildago, Tegueste, Valle Guerra, Tacoronte, as well as La Laguna itself and Tenerife Cabildo.

The hearts are around two metres high and one and a half metres wide and can weigh up to 800 kilos. It takes about 25 people to carry each during the procession.

An elaborate process is involved in making the hearts, including fashioning dough into bread with designs and pictures. The basic frame is made from wood to which flowers and fruit are added and the flags of both Spain and the Canary Islands.

The whole ceremony is described as “quirky, expressive and dramatic” and encompasses all the elements of entertainment, culture, partying, folklore, agriculture, customs and religion. The procession is headed by dance groups and children carrying flags with the backdrop of ringing bells and rockets. At the close, there is a symbolic religious act where the hearts are presented at the door of the church to San Bartolomé amid applause and cheers.

The entire festival over the 15 days includes children’s activities, floats, music, sports, folk events and art but it is the hearts which draw the crowds.