Which is Tenerife's top festival in May?

26th April, 2024

In the Canary Islands, we cherish our traditions very much, and some of the most beautiful experiences happen in many of our islands’ town festivals. 

There are numerous town festivals in Tenerife throughout the year, but the biggest ones are in the north of the island, and the most known festival in the South is in Valle San Lorenzo. 

During this festival in Valle San Lorenzo, many people gather in the town to celebrate, from smaller towns and villages in Arona but also outside Arona. This festival occurs once a year in May and consists of various events throughout the month. 

This festival is also known as Fiestas de Fátima or Celebrations of Fatima, the town's saint. 

This is a time to get together, celebrate the island, remember its history and culture throughout the years, and celebrate the people who make it what it is. Here is the calendar of pilgrimages in Tenerife during 2024.

Colivers dressed up for the Festival.


The first mentions of the town’s saint Fatima date back to the 1950s, when the pilgrimage (Romeria) started and continues to be one of the most beloved traditions today.

Around the 70s this tradition began to strengthen and receive the form that it has today. 

Now, every year, when the Romeria takes place, tens of thousands of people walk three kilometres to offer offerings and pay their respects to Our Lady Fatima and the people of the town and the island. 

For all these events, people dress in traditional clothes and make traditional food and drinks that they give out to others and share the celebration. These days are also full of traditional Canarian music and dances that represent not only Tenerife but all the Canary Islands.

It is a beautiful tradition that helps local people connect and commemorate their homes, neighbours, families, friends, and history.

It is also an experience that can help foreigners get to know the Canarian culture behind the curtain of tourism.

Romeria Festival in May.

Traditional clothing

Traditional Canarian clothing is crucial for these events and generally for Canarian culture.

One of the events is dedicated to a public show in the open air that showcases different clothing, music, dances, and accessories throughout the years, and throughout the islands.

Very much detail is given to the clothes and accessories, and even though there are many variants, there are some common things that are always the same. 

For example, a head must never be uncovered. For men, this means wearing a hat, and for women, a scarf and a hat on top of it, or only a scarf. 

The hats are made from natural and local materials and are one of the most distinguishable clothing features. 

It’s important not to take these clothes as dress-up costumes but to wear them with respect and pride.  

Traditional clothing.

Traditional food

These events are often full of traditional Canarian food that is thoughtfully prepared and shared among people. 

For some events, people prepare their favourite traditional food a few nights earlier and bring it with them to a traditional sitting area with music, dance, food, and drinks. It’s like a big communal dinner where everybody prepares something and brings it with them to the city centre. 

People often share the food with their table neighbours and enjoy each other's specialities. 

Some of the food that is typically made for these events are traditionally cooked ribs with corn cobs and potatoes. Also, the fiesta cannot go without traditional Papas Arrugada with the Mojo sauce - super salty baby potatoes with the traditional Canarian sauce. And there is always a bit of Almogrote, a special type of paste made from goat cheese, paprika, and spices typical for La Gomera island but loved on all islands, as well as empanadas - stuffed pastry with tuna or chicken.

Traditional food is prepared using traditional cooking methods.

Program of Celebrations of Fatima

So, as we mentioned, this celebration consists of various events spread throughout May, but the main ones typically happen in the middle. 

It starts with the town putting up the flag that marks the beginning of the celebrations, followed by the townspeople decorating the streets and hanging colourful garlands all around. 

Then, in the following days, various events take place - cultural events, educational, historical, for children, for grown-ups… something for everybody, and a group of events that will tell the whole story of Tenerife, the other islands, and the local people. 

Main events

The celebrations have three main events - The Grand Dance, the pilgrimage, and the open-air dance.

All of these events are very positive, with lots of music and drinks and just beautiful local atmospheres. 

El Gran Baile (The Grand Dance)

The first big event of the celebrations is the Grand Dance which normally takes place on Fridays to mark the biggest celebration weekend of the month. 

This dance is happening in the San Lorenzo Square, the central area of the town. It normally starts around 9 or 10 PM and the main act is the Dance of Wizards followed by various folklore groups from the area. 

This event also kind of marks the celebrations that will go on for the whole weekend - from Friday to Sunday night with very few interruptions. 

Cactus colivers at the 'Grand Dance' in Valle San Lorenzo.

La Verbena

The same Saturday is a day dedicated to commemorating the Parish Community of Valle San Lorenzo, which this year marks its 400th year of existence.

This event occurs after the solemn mass and continues into another dance under the stars with traditional music, food, and beautiful people dressed in typical Canarian clothing. 

This is the day when the town puts up tables, and people bring food and drinks, after which they dance and enjoy the music. 

People dancing and enjoying music in Valle San Lorenzo.


On the last day of the weekend, Sunday, we mark the most important day of the celebrations, and that is the pilgrimage in honor of Lady Fatima and our people. 

The pilgrimage starts around noon in the Parish of San Lorenzo Martyr and finishes around 2-3 PM in the town’s look point La Centinela, where the statue of Our Lady Fatima is brought, along with the flag of the celebrations. 

This walk is around 3km long and followed by local music groups and small local businesses that give out boiled eggs, meringues, empanadas, gofio, etc. 

When the pilgrimage reaches the lookout, they put up the statue of Lady Fatima and then people give their offerings to respect her, the municipality, and its people. 

Romeria in Valle San Lorenzo during the month of May.

Cactus coliving on Fiestas de Fátima

These celebrations happened in our town for the first time since Cactus Coliving was opened.

So, we were very excited to take this unique and new opportunity to show our culture and festival to our visitors. 

We made sure to let our children know a bit about the history and the event and prepared to go together to the most important events. 

We bought all our female colivers traditional clothing that they can wear and helped our male colivers acquire traditional accessories like the waist scarf and the hats. 

Then, we cooked some traditional food - ribs and some Canarian potatoes with sauce and we all went down to the town center for La Verbena to eat, drink, and enjoy the traditional dance. 

Our colivers danced, learned many new moves and a lot about our culture. We had a nice meal and met some other locals. 

The next day, on the day of the pilgrimage, we dressed once again, joined the folks, and went up to La Centinela where we had some food and drinks. 

It was a beautiful experience for us as locals, but also for our visitors, so we intend to keep this tradition. What’s a better way of introducing your culture to others by showing it from the inside?

Book with us at Cactus Coliving in Tenerife for a unique experience with digital nomads and locals! Also, we have an extra 10% discount to our long-term discounts, from May 15th to August 31st 2024.

María Mayordomo
Founder of Cactus Coliving. In love with nature of the Canary Islands.

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