Festival Bajada de La Virgen de Las Nieves - Santa Cruz de la Palma

Festival Bajada de La Virgen de Las Nieves - Santa Cruz de la Palma

Every five years, the city Santa Cruz de la Palma celebrates 'La Bajada de La Virgen de Las Nieves' during the months July and August. This is one of the most famous celebrations in the Canary Islands, which counts of a wide programme of activities and traditional processions.

The origins of the celebrations of the 'Bajada de La Virgen de Las Nieves' goes back to the year 1676, when the island La Palma was suffering under a severe drought. Because of this, and as the palmeros already in previous times have gone through many kinds of calamities, the Canarian Bishop ordered the transfer of the icon of the Virgen de Las Nieves to the capital city Santa Cruz de la Palma. In this ways, the believers of all parts of the island could go to their patroness to pray to her and ask for her help.

The strong religious belief of the inhabitants and the power of their patroness, caused that the bishop ordered to repeat the procession of the 'Bajada de la Virgen', from then on every five years.

Nowadays, 'La Bajada de La Virgen de Las Nieves' is a celebration that reunites palmeros from all over the world on the island of La Palma.

The most important events are:

  • The pilgrimage 'Bajada del trono' - The traditional transfer of the pieces that form the silver throne which is mounted in the church of El Salvador to host the image of the Virgen de las Nieves during their stay in the city of Santa Cruz de La Palma. The palmeros accompany the procession with traditional costumes of the islands and the event also features typical music and cuisine.
  • The parade of the 'Pandorgas' - In this evening event, thousands of lanterns, made of wood and colored papers, which form different figures, are illuminated by the soft glow of a candle. The parade ends with the burning of the caps in the river bed at the cliffs of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves.
  • The dance of the masks 'Danza de Los Mascarones' - A big group of giants and big heads cover the main streets of the city in a great parade. Several of these figures represent special characteristics, as well as popular or children’s characters.
  • The parade of floats with the 'Batallas de flores' - This parade counts of a series of floats that are decorated with floral topics, and which interpret in a funny way the nature.
  • Festival of the eighteenth century (Minué) - The festival recreates the luxury and elegance of the Rococo of eighteenth century, including the interpretation of the court dances of this period.
  • The Dwarf Dance 'Danza de Enanos' - This number has finally become the sign and symbol of identity of the celebrations of the 'Bajada de La Virgen de Las Nieves'. In this, a group of men dressed every time according to another theme (vikings, jugglers..) interpret an initial dance. For the second part, the men transform into tiny dwarfs, interpreting a special choreography to a polka composed in the year 1925.
  • The arrival of the Virgin in the city - As the highlight of the celebrations, all the people come out to welcome the icon of the Virgen de Las Nieves, to accompany her on her way into the city Santa Cruz de la Palma.

If you are visiting the Canary Islands at this time, you really should not miss to visit the beautiful island of La Palma during these traditional celebrations that have been declared as Festivities of National Tourist Interest.

See the programming of the celebrations of the Bajada de La Virgen de las Nieves.

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