Tradition Around Every Arona Corner

Chunky white candles nestled against the old stone houses down all the streets in Arona town, quite a task putting all 10,000 of them in place, and a big box of matches would be needed to light them all up when darkness approached. There was a much more basic feel to this years Dia de Los Tradiciones (Day of Traditions) but those little touches helped to evoke the history of the people and their crafts just 10 kms up from Los Cristianos.

I arrived on a TITSA public service bus after waiting an hour for the free shuttle to show but I wasn´t complaining at a 20 minute journey and a mere 1.25 euros on my bono ticket. Music wafted through the air as I browsed the stalls in the tight street on the way to the church plaza. Those small touches included a free event and guide map that was tinted brown to look old and worn, it had to be big as there were so many events crammed in. On my stroll I saw the source of the music, a traditional Canarian group with dancers and musicians.

One side street featured old home made toys, wooden karts looked certain to give a bumpy but fun ride over the cobbles. Eco power is nothing new, good old pedal power was propelling a kiddies roundabout with some very basic horses, sand filled egg timers measured out the duration of a euros worth of spinning, and boxes of bananas packed a little nourishing after ride treat. Up at the plaza by the church of San Antonio Abad, a stage was set for full orchestras of music later in the day. Heading into Calle El Calvario I found more stalls, some lovely smells were coming from La Cocina de la Abuela (Grandmas Kitchen), they were teaching children some basic recipes and also offering free plates full of potatoes, meat, and gofio – well I couldn´t say no.

Another aspect of this special day is to open up old buildings like the Casa la Bodega, the scene for some of the theatrical performances during the day. I caught up with a display of Salto de Pastor (shepherds leap) an old way of vaulting across small ravines with the help of a large wooden pole. The Casino de Arona was also open to the public and featured antique radios and record players, some of them took me back to my parents radiogram, well at least we didn´t walk down the street in a trance listening to them.

There are several big collections of classic cars in Tenerife and a dozen of the famous old models were on show outside the casino, a magnet for poses against the gleaming bodywork and for smaller enthusiasts a chance to ride the running boards. I spent a good few hours taking in the goodies on offer, it was nice to see old historic houses identified with brief histories of famous families that lived in them, and also places of work and food production like the old gofio mill house. Never let it be said that Arona is just dwelling in the past, one week on (6th & 7th October) from the Day Of Traditions, the church plaza would be throbbing to the sound of car engines ready to embark on the Subida de Arona – La Escalona rally.