Día de Canarias. Foto van Canarische vlag en strelizias

Día De Canarias: so what do they actually celebrate?

A journey through time

Every year on May 30th, there is a big celebration in the Canary Islands. This day is known as Día de Canarias, but what is actually celebrated? For the answer to that question, we need to go back in history.

  • A Brief Lesson in Politics: Spain consists of 17 autonomous communities: Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, La Rioja, and Valencia. Each autonomous community has the authority to govern itself through its own representatives. However, autonomous governance does not equate to independent status, a topic that still causes considerable controversy in some autonomous communities.
  • First Session of the Canarian Parliament: After the acceptance of the Spanish constitution in 1978, the first autonomous communities were approved. The Canary Islands had to wait until 1982 for their autonomous status. A year later, on May 30, 1983, the first session of the Canarian Parliament took place.
  • Calatayud Pact: It is not clear if the first session of the parliament was arbitrarily held on May 30th. However, it is a fact that exactly 502 years earlier, on May 30, 1481, the Calatayud Pact was signed between the conquerors from the Kingdom of Castile and an indigenous Guanche king from Gran Canaria. This pact not only ended the war between the conquerors and the Guanches but also marked the beginning of the gradual incorporation of the rest of the Canary Islands into the Kingdom of Castile.
Calatayud-pact. Vrije interpretatie van de auteur.
Signing of the Calatayud Pact
(creative interpretation by the author)

How is Día de Canarias celebrated?

Now that we know more about the background of Día de Canarias, it's easy to understand why this date is very important to the residents of the Canary Islands. Proud of their cultural heritage, folkloric festivals are organized all over the islands. This is usually accompanied by a Baile de Magos, which translates to 'dance of the farmers'. These events are typically held on the eve of Día de Canarias and continue until the early hours of the morning. Sleeping in is not a problem because Día de Canarias is an official holiday on all the islands.

Participating in the Baile de Magos is, incidentally, only allowed if you are dressed in the local traditional costume.

Baile de Magos – Adeje

Aside from the dance evening, a lot of activities are organized during the day on May 30th. Traditional sports demonstrations such as Lucha Canaria (Canarian wrestling) take place. You can also taste local dishes in many eateries, and of course, there is plenty of cheerful music. So, there's a lot of tenderete to enjoy.

Because each municipality organizes its own festivities, it is advisable to consult the local program for each municipality. Keep in mind that it is a local public holiday, so it can get quite crowded.

¡Felicidades a todos los Canarios!

Greetings from Tenerife and ¡Hasta Pronto!

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