Photo Credit: JohnB

Among the island of  Tenerife’s more quirky festivals – and there are a few – is the fiesta of Los Corazones de Teijina, which is believed to date back as far as the year 1800. Translated as ‘the Hearts of Teijina’, the fiesta originated as part of celebrations for the seasons’ harvest, but has become most famous for the giant, intricate hearts constructed specifically for the fiesta by Teijina’s residents.

In the weeks leading up to the fiesta, which takes place each year on the last Sunday in August, every household in the local area will contribute a little money to fund the materials from which the hearts are made. However, forget cardboard and plastic – Teijina’s hearts are made from frames of wood and iron, and decorated with fruit, flowers and pastry tarts which depict symbols of nature, religion and folklore.

Three heart structures are created in total, representing the three barrios of El Pico, Calle Arriba and Calle Abajo. The hearts all come in pairs, and are bound at their edges by a Spanish flag and then hung onto a wooden frame, formed from a branch specially selected from the woods overlooking Tegueste.

Banter in Bartelomé

On the big day, the hearts are erected in Plaza de San Bartelomé in front of the church, and form the centrepiece of the fiesta. Traditionally, locals from the three barrios will gather around the hearts to comment on their workmanship, and will often trade insults regarding their quality – but nobody will be offended as it’s all just an act that’s part of the days’ proceedings, and soon turns to song accompanied by local musicians.

If you’re wondering what happens to all those delicious pastries and pieces of fruit that adorn the hearts, make sure you head back to the Plaza on the afternoon following the fiesta. Ladders are placed against the hearts as the crowds gather, and then the food is cut from the hearts and thrown to the waiting revellers – so stand back if you don’t want to get struck in the head by a lemon.

So if you’re planning to visit Tenerife for the Hearts of Teijina on the 26 th August, check out airlines like Jet2.com starting at just £56 one way including taxes, and make sure you bring your appetite!