Elodie Casola

Hearts of Tejina: a century of history around the corner from your home in Tenerife

Hearts of Tejina: a century of history around the corner from your home in Tenerife
Photo from www.webtenerife.com

If you have the luxury of enjoying your home in Tenerife throughout the year, it’s likely you keep an eye on the festival calendar in search of experiences and happenings worthy of your time. One such festival that you shouldn’t miss is that of the Hearts of Tejina (Corazones de Tejina), celebrated in the month of August.

Tejina is a town close to the capital that in itself is worthy of a visit, but if there’s one thing that makes their yearly festival stand out, it’s the Fiesta de Los Corazones (Festival of the Hearts), one of the most colorful and attractive traditions on the island. Celebrated in honor of San Bartolomé, this tradition is considered an Event of Cultural Interest and has been in existence for more than 100 years.

Offerings of flowers, fruit, and bouquets are common in all the festivals in towns all over the Canary Islands. But of all the popular events of this type, which are usually associated with religious practice, that of the Hearts of Tejina is one of the most singular, expressive, and spectacular.

The bearers of the hearts parade through the streets of the town, headed and followed by two anchoring structures: the Big Crown and the Little Crown. The frame, made of wood and iron, is wrapped in beech branches that form a kind of mattress to which fruit is sewn. Each crown holds tarts, baked like bread a few days prior, that have different and varied stamps on them (religious, agricultural, traditional, folkloric, etc.). The hearts are crowned with a beautiful bouquet of flowers whose colors and shapes create a harmonious artistic and aesthetic composition.

Traditionally there are three Hearts made (El Pico, Calle Arriba, and Calle Abajo), which represent the three population centres of the town. Carried on shoulders and accompanied by their respective parties from their neighborhoods to the church plaza, they parade to the accompaniment of the continuous roar of the fireworks known as “voladores”.

Each Heart weighs approximately 800 kg, requiring some 25 men for their transport to the door of the parochial church, where they are received by San Bartolomé in an emotive act called the Ofrenda, which has been performed since 1984. Musical, cultural, artistic and sporting performances of all types add to the celebration, meaning that the entertainment of curious visitors is assured. A week later, the same process is repeated with the Small Hearts, this time with the children as protagonists.

If you’re planning your summer holidays, think about taking a few days away from Abama this August. Though you may have to briefly renounce the comforts of your home in Tenerife that have made Abama one of Europe’s top luxury resorts, the distance of a bit more than an hour from the resort is well worth traversing to experience the goings on in Tejina.

Whether you arrive the day of the Ofrendas (the 25th of August for the Hearts and the 31st for the Little Hearts), or whether you go for any of the days that they are on display, the arresting visuals of the hearts and the ingenuity of the locals that arrive to pay their respects, singing and reciting, will make it one of the most unforgettable experiences of your summer.

Mark your calendar and free yourself up to enjoy one of the many cultural traditions that the Canary Islands archipelago offers to its visitors. After all, Tenerife isn’t only about its heavenly beaches and spartan natural environments; it has irreplaceable and unique cultural riches all its own.

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