How to experience an authentic Día de Canarias in Lanzarote
If you’re in Lanzarote on May 30, you’re in luck! It’s Día de Canarias (Canary Islands Day), a public holiday when towns and villages are filled with festivities as islanders proudly celebrate their culture and traditions.
Read on to discover the history behind this special day, how it is celebrated in Lanzarote and where you can enjoy a great day out.
What is Canary Islands Day?
May 30 is a bank holiday in the archipelago. It celebrates the first official Parliamentary session held by the Canary Islands Government. This was some ten months after the islands became an autonomous region of Spain.
The Canary Islanders are a cheerful bunch, and festivities are always fun to see and usually span over several days. In 2022, Día de Canarias falls on a Monday, and activities will undoubtedly go on all over the weekend before that.
How is Canary Islands Day celebrated in Lanzarote?
Many of the traditional activities are similar across all the islands. But one thing is for sure –traditional costumes are a must, and they do differ slightly from island to island. You can see how Lanzarote men and women (or conejeros and conejeras) will dress for the occasion in the photo below.
Folkloric music and dancing in Lanzarote
Canarian people are proud of their roots, and the Baile de Magos is one of the most traditional dances. In Lanzarote, you may also come across the Sorondongo. In traditional costumes, the islanders dance in pairs and swirl around accompanied by musicians playing the timple – a small five-string guitar similar to the ukulele.
The Museo del Timple (Timple Museum) in Teguise is well worth a visit to discover the history of this wonderful instrument so closely linked to Lanzarote culture.
Traditional Canary Islands sports /games
You’ll see families, friends and children enjoying some of their favourite traditional sports and games on this Canarian public holiday in villages all across Lanzarote. They range from fun activities to exhibitions and spectator sports:
- Bola Canaria or pelota, is similar to petanque except the balls are heavier.
- Lucha Canaria: a form of wrestling you’ll see performed in exhibitions during the weekend.
- Races with Jolateros: While not strictly a Canarian Day activity, you may come across Jolateros while strolling around the Arrecife seafront promenade on your way to Charco San Ginés. These small traditional metal boats are traditionally fashioned out of disused tin barrels used for importing food and water during tougher times in the past. Locals turned the barrels into boats to be able to transport goods between the island’s harbours.
- Salto del pastor: Also called “brinco o salto canario”, it is a traditional practice unique to the Canary Islands whose uses and customs were typical of the indigenous societies of the archipelago. It basically consists of using the tool of the Canarian shepherds to help us walk and move through irregular terrain and with strong slopes and unevenness.
Cultural activities and workshops
There are also many activities for children and adults alike on Canary Islands Day which highlight culture and traditions. Many towns organise a special programme of events, including arts and crafts workshops for all:
- Barro: get your hands dirty and make your own clay pottery.
- Rosetas: make your rosette lace flower to decorate your fashion garments.
- Empleita: create an original keyring with palm tree leaves.
- Lanzarote mojo sauce: learn how to make your own green and red Canarian sauces.
You can try your hand at these traditional arts and crafts at Casa-Museo del Campesino at any time of year. Built by César Manrique with the help of local people, this Tourist Centre, in San Bartolomé, pays homage to the culture, architecture, and traditions of the Lanzarote people.
Where to enjoy Canary Island Day celebrations
However, you won’t have to go very far, and you’ll also find plenty of celebrations in other parts of the island. There are seven municipalities in Lanzarote, and each one will have its own programme of events.
Also worth a visit is the northern town of Haría which will be exceptionally colourful during the Saturday arts and craft market in the leafy town square.
The municipality of Tías will host in the Terrero de Lucha Ulpiano Rodríguez Pérez of the town of Tías on May 30, the Institutional Struggle of the Day of the Canary Islands in which representatives of other islands will participate. On the same day, in the Plaza del Varadero in Puerto del Carmen, craft workshops and musical performances will be held.
In San Bartolomé, the Casa-Museo del Campesino is the perfect place to enjoy the Día de Canarias and to immerse yourself in the island’s history, and you can also savour some of the best tapas in Lanzarote.
You can also enjoy typical dancing and music at the Mancha Blanca Farmer’s market in the municipality of Tinajo on Sunday. And while you’re there, why not also buy some fresh local cheeses, wine, fruit, and vegetables?
The perfect day to sample authentic Lanzarote cuisine
Canarian potatoes are probably the most well-known dish in Canary Islands cuisine. But there’s a lot more to authentic Lanzarote cuisine than Canarian potatoes!
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to discover the best tapas in Lanzarote of Lanzarote on Día de Canarias. The island’s farmers struggled to produce food for their families for hundreds of years following the Timanfaya eruptions. They are proud of their traditional dishes. Some of the best tapas in Lanzarote you must try on the most important cultural day of the year are:
- Canarian gofio: a mixture of cereals mixed with water, salt, and oil to make Pella de gofio: delicious!
- Mojo sauce from Lanzarote: an absolute must with Canarian potatoes (just ask for “papas con mojo“) and comes in either green or red varieties.
- A glass of crisp Malvasía Volcánica white wine, made from a a variety of grape unique to Lanzarote.
- Queso asado con mojo: grilled cheese and mojo sauce from Lanzarote – irresistible!
- Sanchocho is always served at Easter and other special occasions and consists of salty fish, Gofio slices, boiled potatoes, sweet potato, and mojo rojo.
- Carne de cabra (goat meat): this festive favourite usually steeped in white wine before cooking and served as a stew. You’ll find it on the menus of most traditional restaurants.
- Garbanzos: a delicious chickpea stew mixed with vegetables and pork meat
- Ropa vieja: a stew with chickpeas, shredded meat, peppers, and other vegetables but traditionally made from leftovers.
- Caldo millo: millet broth which contains pork meat and corn kernels.
- Costillas con piñas: delicious chunks of pork served with pieces of corn on the cob and potatoes.
Enjoy these traditional celebrations of the Canary Islands culture, savour the tastes of Lanzarote, and immerse yourself in the spirit of its people.