A journey in time
Each year on May 30 there is big celebration in the Canary Islands. This day is known as Día de Canarias, but what do they actually celebrate? To answer that question, we have to go back in time.
- A bit of politics: Spain consists of 17 autonomous communities, namely: 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 is authorized to govern itself through its own representatives. Incidentally, an autonomous administration does not mean the same as an independent status. A theme that still causes quite a bit of controversy in some autonomous communities.
- First session of the Canarian Parliament: After the adoption of the Spanish Constitution in 1978, the first Autonomous Communities were approved. The Canary Islands had to wait until 1982 for the autonomous status. A year later, May 30, 1983 , the first session of the Canarian Parliament took place.
- Calatayud-pact: it is not clear whether the first session of the parliament was arbitrarily held on May 30. In fact, exactly 502 years earlier, May 30, 1481, the Calatayud-pact was signed between the conquerors from the Kingdom of Castile and a native Guanche king from Gran Canaria. The pact not only ended the war between the Conquistadors and the Guanches, but also marked the beginning of the gradual incorporation of the rest of the Canary Islands into the Kingdom of Castile.
How is Día de Canarias celebrated?
Now that we know a little more about the background of Día de Canarias, it is easy to imagine that this date is very important for the inhabitants of the Canary Islands. Proud of their cultural heritage, folk festivals are organized all over the islands. This is usually accompanied by a Baile de Magos, which means 'dance of the peasants'. These are usually held on the eve of the Día de Canarias, and continue into the wee hours. Sleeping in is no problem as Día de Canarias is an official bank holiday on all the islands.
Incidentally, participating in a Baile de Magos is only allowed if you are dressed in a traditional costume .
Apart from the dance parties, a lot is organized during the day, on May 30. There are traditional sports demonstrations such as Lucha Canaria (a Canarian wrestling sport). In many places you can taste local dishes in eateries, and of course there is a lot of cheerful music. So quite a bit of tenderete .
Since each municipality organizes its own parties, it is advisable to consult the local program per municipality. Keep in mind that it is a local holiday, so it can get quite busy.
¡Felicidades a todos los Canarios!
Greetings from Tenerife and ¡Hasta Pronto!