In this article we invite you to discover the traditions and popular festivals of Gran Canaria. We will review the most important parties and events that take place each year on the island. Here we go!
Popular festivals in Gran Canaria (and other events)
En primer lugar, debes saber que el día de Canarias se celebra cada 30 de mayo y, por tanto, este día es festivo en todo el archipiélago. Por otro lado, existe una serie de fiestas populares y eventos que atraen visitantes locales, nacionales e internacionales cada año. A continuación te los vamos a mencionar por si tu visita a Gran Canaria coincide con alguno de estos y quisieras mezclarte con nosotros (los locales).
First of all, you should know that the Canary Islands day is celebrated every May 30 and, therefore, this day is a bank holiday throughout the archipelago. On the other hand, there are several popular festivals and events that attract local, national and international visitors every year. Next we are going to mention them to you in case your visit to Gran Canaria coincides with any of these and you would like to mix with us (the locals).
1. Fiesta de La Rama (La Rama fest), Agaete
La Rama is one of the most important popular festivals in the Canary Islands. Every August 4, this traditional Gran Canaria festival attracts thousands of people to the town of Agaete and its Puerto de Las Nieves. This popular celebration has been taking place for hundreds of years and was organized to “invoke” the scarce rains. It consisted mainly of walking up to Tamadaba to pick up branches and once in Puerto de Las Nieves, whipping the branches into the sea. Rama is branch in Spanish. Thus the call to the rains was made. This is where the names of the festival Brought of La Rama and Descent of La Rama come from, since the aborigines climbed the mountain through the Agaete Valley in search of the branches.
To this day this festival is still celebrated with different food and drink stalls and music throughout the town. People dance to the sound of the Banda de Agaete, drink, eat and bathe in the sea. You should know that today many locals follow the tradition of walking up to pick up the branches in Tamadaba Natural Park.
2. El Pino festivity, Teror
Another well-known popular festival in the Islands is the one the patron saint of the island of Gran Canaria in Teror. This is the Virgin Pino and her day is September 8. The festival is traditionally religious and consists of walking to the Basilica of Teror from different municipalities on the island to visit the Virgin. That is, the pilgrims arrive in Teror walking as a promise to the Virgen del Pino. Normally, the locals usually go up to Teror the day before the 8th. That is, on the 7th of September. Although the pino’s day is the 8.
To this day, this tradition is still preserved and many walk up even barefoot. Others go in groups of friends of all ages. As in all parties, alcohol is present and many even drink all the way. Upon reaching the town there are several stalls with traditional food. The protagonist is the Teror chorizo sandwich that many take as a reward upon arrival. During these festivities in the town there are also different music stalls and concerts. The most popular towns to walk to Teror are San Lorenzo and Tamaraceite along the edge of the road. The duration of the journey is approximately 3 hours.
3. El Charco fest, La Aldea de San Nicolás
The El Charco festival (the pond) is another of the most relevant popular festivals in Gran Canaria. And it is that this celebration also has an important tradition. Formerly the aborigines of La Aldea and other surrounding areas of Gran Canaria concentrated around El Charco applying a special fishing technique known as embarbascada. This technique consisted of poisoning the water with the sap of Canarian plants such as tabaiba or cardón to sedate the fish and be able to catch them in an easier way.
Today, every September 11 at 5:00 p.m. the mayor of La Aldea launches a fire work to indicate that it is now possible to run towards the pond to fish. That is, all those who are surrounding the pond run to the water to fish with the help of baskets and other utensils. Eventually, they all end up dancing and wetting each other. These days La Aldea is filled with corners with music and food and drink stalls to have a good time.
4. La Vará del Pescado, Arinaga
This festival is celebrated on the last Friday in August next to the Arinaga beach, in the municipality of Agüimes. The Vará is a kind of marine parade and is celebrated in honor of the fishermen of the area. Apparently, every time the sailors came from fishing to the Avenida de Los Pescadores, they called the neighbors by means of conches so that they could come to see the fresh product and that they could buy it. The procession is marked by a boat in which sardines are roasted to share with everyone who accompanies them dancing. The route leaves from Risco Verde and runs along the entire avenue of Arinaga. Along the beach, small groups of friends and families form where they dance and share food and drink. We recommend that you attend the party with traditional seafaring clothing.
5. Almond blossom Gran Canaria
The almond blossom festival is also very popular among the people of Gran Canaria. These are held in the municipalities of Tejeda, Valsequillo and Tunte. The main attraction of these festivals is to appreciate the beauty of the flowering of the almond trees during the months of February and March. The celebration dates vary and each weekend they take place in a different town. During these festivals there are usually stalls with Canarian products (food and crafts), folklore groups and activities of different kinds highlighting the customs and traditions of the Canary Islands.
6. La Traída del Agua or Water Fest, Telde
In Telde the popular festival known as the Traída del Agua takes place. Like La Rama, the celebration was also related to “invoking the rain.” Today this popular festival has become more of a water festival. Here attendees get wet with buckets, squirt guns and other ingenious dipping items. During the party, the attendees take a walking tour or a kind of parade to the irrigation canal and the Basilica of the Virgin while they get wet and dance to the sound of the town band. The water festival is normally celebrated on the first or second weekend of August.
7. El Perro Maldito, Valsequillo. Festivals in Gran Canaria
Every September 28 at night the festivities of the Perro Maldito (Cursed Dog) are celebrated in the town of Valsequillo. This celebration consists of a series of theatrical performances simulating hell with the devil as the protagonist. The interpretations are usually carried out by the young people of the town and their mission is to scare those who come tonight to this meeting. Usually there are parades, hanging dancers, etc. A real show. Years ago there were even spit-fires, until unfortunately during an edition a serious accident took place. Today the party follows all the protocols and is a lot of fun. In addition, there are several music stands, bars and a night party.
At 12 pm begins the fireworks show of the famous Valsequillo pyrotechnics company “Pirotecnia San Miguel”. By the way, on the Thursday of the week before the Cursed Dog, young people organize the famous Miguelito Pub in the town square. To enter you have to carry assorted coins. That is, if the ticket is € 2, to be able to access they will ask you for coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents until they reach € 2. However, it should be in the way that they establish. It is a very fun popular town festival.
There are other popular festivals in Gran Canaria such as La Bajada del gofio in Agüimes, the Manzana festival in Valleseco, La Cuevita in Artenara, the Santa Lucía festivals, the Carmen festivals in the La Luz and Arguineguín neighborhoods… Place throughout the year numerous pilgrimages such as Santa Brígida and Vegueta, but all these festivals have less influx than those we highlighted before.
8. Events in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
On the other hand, you should know that in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria three major events are held throughout the year. These are the founding festivals of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the WOMAD and the Carnival.
✔ Las Palmas de Gran Canaria founding festivals
The founding festivals of the capital take place every June with a clear protagonist: the night of San Juan. Every June 23 at night hundreds of people congregate on the beach of Las Canteras to celebrate this party. Locals usually meet by the sea on the eve of San Juan setting up a small picnic to celebrate this day. The tradition is to end the day with a night swim in the sea and at 12 pm the fireworks begin.
WOMAD is a music, art and dance festival that brings together different artists from the international scene in Las Palmas every year. This festival is usually celebrated in Parque Santa Catalina for more than 25 years, with what we can already consider as part of our festivities.
✔ Gran Canaria Carnival: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria & Maspalomas
Likewise, in February or March (each year it changes), the Carnivals of the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are celebrated. The Carnivals have several relevant days of celebration with a clear protagonist among the locals: the Drag Queen Gala. Likewise, we highlight the day of the Great Parade, the Carnival by day and, finally, Los Indianos. The night of Los Indianos you should go dressed in white and get some good glasses, a mask and talcum powder. It’s a talcum powder war to the beat of music! The rest of the Carnival nights, people dress up and party or just have a drink, you can check the program for each year here.
On the other hand, a few weeks after the Las Palmas carnivals, the Maspalomas International Carnival is celebrated. Here we also highlight the Drag Gala, on Carnival Thursday and the afternoon of the Great Parade that runs through the entire tourist area of Playa del Inglés. Here locals from all the municipalities of the island congregate in floats organized by companies and groups of friends. If you want to join the party, put on your best costume and hit the streets to dance with the float that you like the most.
Other festivals and events in Gran Canaria
✔ Gay Pride Maspalomas
Finally, we do not want to fail to mention another relevant party that takes place in Gran Canaria and that is becoming more and more relevant in the world: it is Gay Pride Maspalomas. Gay Pride also takes place in this area of the south of the island and is celebrated every May. The island of Gran Canaria has an important link with the LGTBI community and, in fact, receives thousands of tourists from this segment throughout the year. Most of these visit the island coinciding with this event to celebrate Gay Pride. Both members of the LGTBI community attend this party, as well as not, since fun is guaranteed.
We hope this information has been useful to you. What local festivity do you prefer? Have you ever visited anyone of them? We hope that the pandemic will allow us to celebrate each of them in 2022. Until the next post localguiders!