Feasts and festivals: Gran Canaria
Feasts in Gran Canaria have a unique local character. Filled with religious symbols and fervour, Gran Canaria can only be fully enjoyed if you take part in its festivals and processions, and mingle with the locals. Besides traditional carnival, there are numerous celebrations around the year, like the feasts in Agaete or in Charco de San Nicolás.
Major events in Gran Canaria
- Carnival in Gran Canaria: Carnival is the major feast in the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. After 500 years, the streets still get filled with colours and rhythms to celebrate the feast of Don Carnal. This is the only carnival in Spain that has a competition for the Queen and the Drag Queen of Carnival.
- Canaries’ Day: The towns and villages of Gran Canaria commemorate Community Day on the 30th of May every year. One of the most peculiar fiestas is that of Las Lanas (wool) in Gáldar, which has to do with the activity of shearing wool from sheep. Las Lanas is closely linked to the local culture and puts on exhibitions of local traditions like the Peasant’s Jump or the Canary Wrestling.
- Virgin of El Carmen Feast: The coastal resort of Mogán stages the feast dedicated to the Patroness of fishermen on 16 July. A hundred boats decorated with flowers take part in a procession at sea. The image of Virgin Mary is carried in one of these boats.
- Virgin of Las Nieves Feast: The small town of Lomo Magullo, with a population of only 1,500, plays host to the feast honouring Our Lady of the Snows. There is a procession at which all the residents in Lomo Magullo make offerings to Virgin Mary.
- La Rama: Our Lady of the Snows is the central character in the feast held in early August in Agaete, designated of National Tourist Interest and commonly called Fiestas de la Rama. Dancers in traditional costumes carrying twigs and branches (‘ramas’ in Spanish) in their hands parade down the streets.
- Virgin of El Pino Feast: Teror is a coastal village where people are reported to have witnessed the apparition of the Virgin of El Pino, the unofficial Patroness of Gran Canaria. Despite being small, the village attracts huge crowds who want to take part in the procession and make their offerings to the Virgin. The feast, with fireworks and all, is held on 8 September.
- Fiestas del Charco: This is a curious festival held on 11 September in the village of San Nicolás to commemorate an old fishing tradition on the coastal ponds nearby. The fishing method consisted in pouring juice from the spurge that grew in the coastal belt to stun the fish and catch them easily.