Sunny Canaries

A large part of the fiestas in the Canaries are of religious origin, even if with time, they have lost this character. Many others record a native tradition; the inhabitants of the Canary Islands are deeply devoted to tradition, so the origin of some of these fiestas goes back to Guanche times. Those traditions generally celebrated the arrival of a season or a particular time of the year. Some celebrations-those of a pagan character, are exclusive to the archipelago.

The majority of these fiestas are now associated with the cult of saints, in particular patron saints, or - in agricultural regions – the marking of the end of harvest. Each village has its Patron Saint and hence its own fiesta, (so there are many on the island during the year!) They are usually celebrated with processions of a statue of the saint through the streets in a very somber parade. Some fiestas last from one to three weeks: besides much entertainment and fun for young and old, these fiestas often offer a full programme of traditional activities, folklore performances, traditional dancing and sporting events, such as wrestling (lucha canaria) stick fighting competitions (juego de palo).
nb. Some dates may vary slightly from year to year

January 6
Feast of the Three Kings.
In Spain, children receive their Christmas gifts not from Santa Claus but from the Three Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). On the previous evening there are parades in most towns depicting the arrival of the three gift bearers who usually pass through the streets on camels throwing sweets for the children.

February 2
La Candelaria. La Oliva and Tuineje
A fiesta dating from the pre-conquest it has its origins with the Guanche people who would gather in the highest points of the island and spill milk in a ritual to supplicate for  rain. After the conquest, this was transformed into the fiesta of Our Lady of the Candle who lights the way and guides the people. Known as Candlemas in Europe It marks Mary's 40 days of purification after the birth of Jesus and is celebrated on the 2nd February.



March

Carnival.
This pre-Lent festivity, with obvious pagan roots, was banned under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in the early 20th century and later under Franco for its raucousness and lascivious nature. Now reinstated, it is celebrated all over Spain. The most famous are those held in Cádiz in southern Spain, and on the Canary Islands. The “carnavale” (“to put away the meat”) is held in March before the first day of lent (when the eating of it is forbidden for 40 days,) It is held throughout the islands, each of the villages presenting their costumes and musical contributions. In Fuerteventura the largest events are held in Corralejo and Puerto Del Rosario where the parties last up to two weeks from the crowning of the Carnival Queen to “The Burial of the Sardine” finale.

Easter.
Spain is famous for its Holy Week processions, which take place between Palm Sunday and Good Friday, and on Easter Sunday. The more elaborate ones involve enormous, heavily ornamented floats with the images of Christ or the Virgin Mary, often carried on the shoulders of men, in processions which can last many hours, escorted by hundreds of penitents wearing the familiar hooded costumes. On the island the fiesta is simpler but still strictly adhered to by the local people and you will find the churches decked with flowers.

May
Corpus Christi. 
This is one of the most popular and solemn fiestas in the catholic world and in the islands and  one marked by the elaboration of carpets of flowers and salt in the streets of the some of the villages and capitals. The origins of the carpets is not known but is believed to stem from the custom of covering the streets where the procession of the body (corpus) of christ passed with aromatic flowers. The carpets are incredibly elaborate and intricate, especially in the Tenerife town of La Oratva, in Fuerteventura coloured salt is the main ingredient, perhaps due to the past scarcity of flowers.) The fiesta always falls between  mid May and mid June, it is the celebration of the Eucharist - the Last Supper.

Feaga.
This annual Agricultural Fair is held in either April or May (the date varies) and gives an insight into the farming community of the island. There are many stands displaying locally produced articles related to agriculture (including some delicious culinary ones!) and farming animals are proudly exhibited. Agricultural machinery is also featured and the show is an opportunity for local farmers to view the newest innovations and of course to meet up with each other and have a thoroughly good “catch up” (often accompanied by local wines!)

May
The Antigua Craft Fair.
Also held in May, usually at the beginning of the month, this fair is a showcase for the craftsmen and women to display and sell their wares. There is a great selection of stands ranging from pottery to jewellery to hand crafted wind powered water pumps; the variety and standard of the craftwork increases each year.
A good place to buy souveniers and presents.
It is a pleasant day out and there are many events such as concerts by local musicians etc.

May 30
Dia de Canarias
Public holiday celebrating the granting of autonomy to the Canary Islands.
Many events are organised on the island including the "Baile de Taifas" (Traditional Canarian dancing that is accompanied by guitar, timple (a kind of mandolin), and sometimes voice and violin.

June 23
La Noche de San Juan.
Saint John used to be a feast organized to celebrate the summer solstice. It is held on the night of June 23rd, which is the longest night of the year.
In past times, torches were lit at sunset to represent that light didn't completely go, but that it was always present.
Currently, this fiesta isn’t really the same, adopted and adapted by the church, as so many ancient traditions were,  it is
now known as Saint John's Eve and, instead of lighting torches, the people set off fireworks and rockets. In this way they preserve tradition, but adapt it to the new times.

Another ancient tradition, still preserved nowadays, is lighting bonfires, with these bonfires; people had light in the evenings, to keep away darkness till the sun shone again. The fires weren’t made with ordinary wood, but with the pieces of furniture people didn't want any more. Thus, the town folk kept all their old things that couldn’t be burnt at home, and some days before Saint John they brought them all to the street to make huge bonfires.

July 16
Fiestas del Carmen
A fiesta held in seaside towns in honour of Our Lady of Carmen.
The festival is especially important in the fishing villages of the island (and indeed all Spain) Puerto del Rosario amongst others has the Virgin del Carmen as their town patron.
The title of Our Lady of Carmel (or Carmen) can be traced back to the hermits who used to live in the renowned mountain at the time of the Old Testament.
The holy prophet Elias ascended Mount Carmel to pray to God for the salvation of Israel which was suffering a terrible drought at that time. He persevered in prayer and sent his servant several times to the mountaintop to see any sign of foreboding rain. Elias, never wavering in his confidence, received the good news on the seventh try, “Behold a little cloud arose out of the sea like a man’s foot” (1 Kings 18:44). Soon thereafter, torrential rains fell upon the parched land and the people of Israel were saved.

The Virgin del Carmen is held such esteem by the inhabitants of fishing because hermits, following in Elijah's footsteps asked for the protection of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmelo - the Virgin of Carmen. Stella Maris, as she was also known, she was soon adopted by mariners and fishermen everywhere as their patron.
Although long overtaken by tourism, many towns still retain fishing communities and a strong attachment to "la Reina de los Mares" (the Queen of the Seas). It was once believed that the Virgin cleared up the waters with her presence and that only after July 16 would the sea be fit for swimming in.
The fiesta lasts around a week with many events and dances and during the festivities a statue of the virgin is carried in procession from the church to the harbour and placed in a boat, many fisherman and local residents accompany her in boats.


July-August
The Sotovento Windsurf and Kitesurf Contests.
At the end of July to the beginning days of August, Fuerteventura plays host to the PWA World Tour. This event attracts the cream of the worlds Windsurf and Kitesurfer’s, the miles of white sand, sparkling sea and trade winds creating a breathtaking venue where competitors from all over the world compete for a share of the cash prizes.
There are many events planned including the end of contest parties (usually with live bands).

September 11 -13
International Deep Sea Fishing Contest
Every year in September the “Tag and Release” Deep Sea Fishing Contest is held from the southern port of Gran Tarajal; the event attracts enthusiasts from around the world who hope to catch tuna, shark, blue marlin and other species that inhabit the surrounding Atlantic waters.

October 7

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Rosario

Puerto del Rosario's main fiesta celebrating its patron.

October
The Battle of Tamasite.
Every year during the second week of October the local population of the village of Tuineje dress up as English pirates and farmers and re-enact the great victory that they won in 1740 when brave farmers and just 43 soldiers successfully made a stand against the repeated pirate attacks on the island. The whole village attends the celebration and a play about the battle is performed in the open air. There is also a parade through the streets with many floats and a boat is burned in commemoration of the boat of Jose Sanchez Dumpierrez, who as Governor of the village directed the defence.

November 1

El Dia de los Difuntos (The Day of the Dead)

Known in Europe as All Saints Day, the first of November is the day on which the dead are believed to revisit the living and are duly venerated; the local people visit the cemeteries in very large numbers, decorating them and bringing flowers to the family graves.

November 8
The Kite Festival Corralejo
Each November the glorious beaches of Corralejo are host to the Fuerteventura Kite Festival that is held on the Playa del Burro (or Glass Beach). Due to the beautiful white sandy beach and Atlantic Trade Winds this is a wonderful venue for the world class kiters to demonstrate their skills. The blue skies and dunes provide an ideal backdrop for the vividly coloured kites- a wonderful sight to behold. The weekend event begins on Friday with “free flying” which gives the first viewing of the vast array of kites; on Saturday the kiters begin to compete and the sky becomes a stage for their skills. Sunday is family day where children get the chance to handle kites and there are many suprises in store. The colourful weekend ends after stunt kites battle it out for supremacy of the skies.

December 24th

Christmas Eve, mostly celebrated with a family dinner in the home.
You wont find many restaurantes open this evening.
The big party will be on New Years Eve!

 (Press on craft fair pictures to Enlarge)

 Mount Carmel Caves

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