Sunday, July 17, 2011

Firework Show

July 16 is the day of the Virgen del Carmen, or the day of the Virgin Mary as patroness of the Carmelite Order. She also happens to be the patroness of the Spanish Navy, and so Tenerife, being an island, holds a festival on the beach for her. We were able to hear the Ave Maria sung live and got to see the fireworks from our balcony.

This also means I now have a new camera.


It is as of yet, unnamed. Any suggestions are welcome.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This wonderful building is the Basilica de de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, or Basilica of our Lady of the Candlestick.

According to the story, a group of Guanches (the indigenous tribe of Tenerife) found an image of the Virgin on a rock in 1390, after which they moved it, first to a beach, and later to a series of caves. Eventually, they constructed the present building in 1949, created to replace an earlier basilica that had burned down in 1789.

This is the main altar. After Mass, they open a corridor that runs through the sides of the back of the church and allow people to go in and touch the Virgin.

This is inside the Capilla del Cristo de la Reconciliacion, or Chapel of the Holy Christ of Reconciliations, which is dedicated to confessions. The image was created by Ricardo Rivera Martínez in 1936.

This is the ceiling of the Capilla del Sagrario, or Chapel of the Sanctuary. The following image, a Last Supper by José Aguiar, is featured on a mural inside it.

The church is absolutely gorgeous, if a little overwhelming. It really makes you understand that sense of insignificance church fathers were trying to instill on their congregations when creating their buildings.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Danza de los Enanos

Every five years, the island of La Palma celebrates the Virgen de las Nieves (Virgin of the Snow) festival, which includes a little show called the Danza de los Enanos, or Dance of the Dwarves. It's long, so I won't blame you if you don't watch the whole thing. You should, however, watch at least the first two minutes, so you get a taste of it. Also, 8:55. At the very least.

This website describes the dance, but fails to explain its origins.
During the festival a short show is given which has 2 distinct parts. The first part is performed in a somber and stiff manner, after which the players disappear into one side of a small tent and re-appear, magically transformed, a few seconds later on the other side dressed as dwarves with large triangular hats. The dwarfs then perform an amusing and traditional dance.
The show is short and repeated several times in the "theatre area" and then throughout the whole night at strategic points along the main street of the old town ending up at daybreak near the ship (Barco de La Virgen).
Performing in the show is considered an honour, but also very very hard work, because of the weight of the costumes, and the number of times the performance is repeated throughout the evening and night. The secret of the transformation is handed down from father to son.

Apparently, it's ridiculously expensive to attend, not to mention difficult, as tickets run out months in advance. I don't understand it, but I'm thoroughly amused.