Today marks a very special day in the Canary Islands. ‘Dia de las Canarias‘ is an annual public holiday which marks the anniversary of the autonomous Canary Islands Parliament’s first session. During May 30th, all the towns and locals across the seven islands put on a great show, celebrating their unique culture and people. It’s a definite must-see if you’re in Tenerife, Lanzarote or Gran Canaria – there’s everything from street parties and traditional food tastings, to exhibitions and parades.
In the week leading up to May 30th, students start celebrating by dressing up in traditional Canarian costume, usually a white blouse with a colourful vest/apron and a large flat hat. There are extra classes on the Canary Islands’ history and culture as well as school parties with songs and dances.
Canary Islands’ cuisine is absolutely delicious and has a strong Spanish influence. You’ll find food tastings in all the cities and towns – make sure you try tortillas (Spanish potato omelettes), papas arrugadas con mojo (potatoes with a piquant sauce), tortillas de calabaza (flat pumpkin cakes), fresh cheese and local wines. Many of the meals are communal during the Day of the Canary Islands, so you’ll meet lots of new people.
The most renowned sport in the Canary Islands is Lucha Canaria, a mix between wrestling and judo. This Canarian wrestling is an ancient custom thought to have originated in the 1400s by the very first inhabitants of the archipelago. There are also several other sports displays including stick fighting, lateen sailing and boulder lifting.
You’ll find plenty of concerts by local musicians playing Canarian folk music during the celebrations. There are also arts and crafts markets set up along the streets (a great place to pick up some unusual souvenirs), as well as dancing, parades and domestic animal shows.
The Honour and Distinction Awards
One of the main events taking place on the Day of the Canary Islands is a prestigious awards ceremony honouring Canarians in a variety of different disciplines. It is organised by the Canary Government and is held at the local town hall.
Aside from the Day of the Canary Islands celebrations, there are also plenty of other things to see and do – for starters, there are over 257km of beaches spread across the seven islands and six inlets. Tenerife is home to Pico del Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. Meanwhile Gran Canaria and its city of Las Palmas are another popular destination, famous for having the best beaches in all of Europe. To the north, Lanzarote is completely different to its neighbouring islands – here you’ll find 300 volcanic cones, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and incredible architecture by local artist Cesar Manrique.