Best time to go to Tenerife

Semana Santa & Easter 2020

The "penitents" in pointed hoods, barefoot "Nazarenes", and religious statues take over the streets for a week of solemn processions

Semana Santa & Easter in Tenerife 2020 - Best Time
Photo by

Jose Mesa

Semana Santa (Holy Week) has been widely celebrated on the Canary Islands since medieval times. The largest island of Tenerife is no exception, and its historical cities see countless religious ceremonies and street processions throughout the week leading to Easter. The celebration starts on Palm Sunday and continues to Easter Day. During the solemn season, most congregations have at least one daily procession with a church service. But, the most remarkable day is Good Friday commemorating the death and burial of Jesus Christ.

Procesión Magna in Güímar, Viernes Santo (Good Friday) 2020
Procesión Magna in Güímar, Viernes Santo (Good Friday)
Procesión Magna in Güímar, Viernes Santo (Good Friday) 2020
Procesión Magna in Güímar, Viernes Santo (Good Friday)

The most memorable processions involve members of different religious brotherhoods. The iconic "penitents" wearing long cloaks with pointed hoods that totally cover their faces and revealing only their eyes. Other participants of solemn parades are "Nazarenos" who typically walk barefoot and carry shackles or large wooden crosses. Also, it's common to parade huge floats with heavy religious statues through the streets by dozens of people. The parades make painfully slow progress, traditionally accompanied with sombre religious music by a brass band.

Semana Santa & Easter in Tenerife - Best Season 2020
Best time for Semana Santa & Easter in Tenerife 2020

The most elaborate Semana Santa festivities take place in the authentic towns of the island, namely in Güímar, La Orotava, Garachico, Candelaria, Los Realejos, Puerto de la Cruz, and the capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The most famous celebration is observed in San Cristóbal de la Laguna, the religious centre of Tenerife and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The very special occasions not to miss in La Laguna is its Good Friday evening procession—Procesion del Silencio or the Silent Procession. The town goes completely quiet, street lights shut down, and the town is illuminated solely by candles. The pious brotherhood parade departs at around 9:30 p.m. from the Iglesia de la Concepción. A slow pace set by ominous drumbeat creates a moving and a bit unnerving atmosphere you are never going to forget.

Easter Sunday brings the joy of Resurrection and, well, lots of food. Lent is over, so families celebrate with local delicacies like sancocho (salted fish served with potatoes), gofio (traditional grain) and mojo, signature Canarian sauce.