The fiestas are another of the town’s great attractions, besides being an unmistakeable expression of popular culture and feeling. Firstly, we must make mention of the Carnival – held in February – which , like that of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is the most famous fiesta and of most interest to tourists. As a result of the international fame achieved by this annual celebration, Puerto de la Cruz and the German city of Düsseldorf have a Carnival exchange which has been going on for 25 years.
One of the local holidays with the longest tradition is the Exaltación de la Cruz [Glorification of the Cross] on the 3rd May which coincides with the commemoration of the town’s founding. On this date it is customary to adorn the Crosses and Chapels with flowers. In June, on San Juan [Saint John’s Day], bonfires are lit and, in the harbour, flocks of goats are washed, a reminder of ancestral customs harking back to the Island’s aboriginal inhabitants.
In July is when the Patron Saint’s Day is celebrated in honour of the Gran Poder de Dios and Nuestra Señora de la Virgen del Carmen [the Might of God and Our Lady of Carmen]. These are the town’s major festivities. A highlight of the programme of traditional ceremonies is the Embarking of the Madonna. Worthy of mention is the International Model Aircraft show. But the most curious and original is the “Tin Can” Fiesta in honour of San Andrés [Saint Andrew] on 29th November when the opening of the wine cellars and the sampling of the new vintage is celebrated by dragging all kinds of metal pots and cans through the streets. Another important event, more cultural than festive, is the Canary International Ecology and Nature Film Festival, going on for its 14th anniversary.
Fiesta in Spanish denotes not only “Fiesta” or festivities, but also a Public, Local or Religious Holiday, on which there may or may not be activity in the streets.