The Feast of Corpus Christi takes place on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, usually in early June, and celebrates the Holy Eucharist.
In the town of La Orotava, in the north of Tenerife, Corpus Christi has become one of the most charming festivals in the Canary Islands – declared of Cultural Interest – and its celebration is quite an occasion on the island, a true ode to popular art.
That’s because La Orotova celebrates Corpus Christi by decorating its streets with enormous rugs made with flower petals and sand. They are commonly known as Alfombras de La Orotava (“La Orotava carpets”), true works of art made through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. They are ephemeral artworks which are made the night before the procession of the Corpus before disappearing after the event.
A 19th Century tradition
Before the tradition was born, the Feast of Corpus Christi in La Orotava was celebrated like in many other places, with a procession of the Corpus through the town’s streets.
The tradition emerged in the mid-19th century, around the year 1844. A family from the town – Monteverde del Castillo – decided to make a flower carpet in front of their house to honour and celebrate the moment that the Corpus passed by.
From then on, and with the passing of the years, the tradition has gone from strength to strength to become what it is today – a true symbol of La Orotava’s identity and a source of pride for Tenerife. Today, the Alfombras de La Orotava is one of the most beautiful and popular Feast of Corpus Christi in Spain.