No visit to Tenerife is complete without experiencing the wonder of Mount Teide, a 3,718 m volcano engulfed by 47,000 acres of national parkland. Over 3000 years of local culture centre around the active volcano and the legends date back to the aboriginals of the Canary Island, the Guanches.
Before the Spanish colonization in 1496, the Guanches referred to the volcano as Echeyde. They believed that Echeyde, or Teide, was a sacred mountain that held up the sky and therefore treated the volcano with great respect.
Teide, was a sacred mountain that held up the sky
Remnants of ancient stone tools and pottery have been found within hiding places on the mount. These are believed to have been ritual deposits to ward off and counter the influence of evil spirits.
The Guanches believed that the mountain housed evil spirits, and the most evil figure of them all, Guayota.
Guayota is usually represented as a black dog accompanied by demons referred to as Tibicenas. According to beliefs from these ancient aboriginal inhabitants, Guayota the king of evil, kidnapped Magec the god of light and sun and imprisoned him inside the volcano, plunging the world into darkness.
The Guanches desperately pled with their supreme god Achaman for mercy, so Achaman fought Guayota and freed Magec from the fiery hells of the mountain. He plugged up the crater, banishing Guayota to eternity inside, where he has remained ever since. With evil trapped inside, light returned to the land. During the time of eruptions, it was customary for the Guanches to light bonfires to scare Guayota and keep him trapped within the bowels of the volcano.