Día de Canarias

After a lunch at the Taste Festival, we went down to Caleta de Fuste, where they were celebrating the Day of the Canaries festival. This day celebrates the anniversary of the first official Parliamentary session of the islands held on 30 May 1983 and is a public holiday. Celebrations take place on all the Canary Islands. Although the festival is named Day of the Canaries, the celebrations usually continue over the weekend.

It is a time to celebrate, and show off, Canarian traditions with a wide range of cultural events. In Caleta you could see gofio being made, women and men in traditional costume, and watch lucha Canarian (Canarian wrestling), Juego del Palo (stick fighting) and traditional folk dancers. As well as all that, there were stalls selling their wares and traditional Canarian food to be had (free of course!)

Lucha Canarian has been described as being a cross between sumo wrestling and judo! It’s a very ancient sport that began with the Guanches, the original inhabitants of the Canaries, and apparently the first known written reference to it was back in the 1400s. The objective is to force your opponent to touch the floor with any body part,except the feet.

Juego Del Palo is another sport that is believed to have originated with the Guanches. Although it is of course only a sport and form of art today, it was originally a form of self-defense, and it is believed that stick fighting was the inhabitants’ only defense against conquering armies. But the sticks were used for more than just fighting, and were an aid to move quickly up and down the mountains, using it as leverage for jumping from one level to another.

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