Top Gran Canaria Traditional Fiestas

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Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos (Procession of the Three Kings)
Melchior, Balthazar and Casper ride through the capital’s streets on camels, throwing sweets to kids, who later get presents form the kings. Shops even open until 2am for late-night gift-buying, and there are parties in the streets and makeshift bars of Triana.

Don your best costume and get ready for two months of murgas (political chants), comparsas (dancing competition) and the all-important crowning of the drag queen. The party culminates with the burial of the sardine, a bizarre spectacle with mock mourners weeping because their fun has ended for another year. The most extravagant parties are in Las Palmas and Maspalomas.

Semana Santa (Holy Week)
This is sombre affair, featuring solemn processions silencing towns across the island. On Good Friday, Las Palmas woman don traditional dress and carry a sculpture of Christ along red carpets in Vegueta. There are similar processions island-wide on Easter Sunday, though none are quite as emotionally charged as their counter in mainland.

Dia de Canarias (Canary Islands Day)
Although relatively new, this commemoration of Canarian autonomy celebrates all that is time-honoured in the islands. Traditional costume is obligatory as merrymakers play the timple (a small guitar) and dance as their ancestors did. Local food and drink are dished out freely, so this is a great time for a visit.

Fiesta de San Juan
Revellers leap bonfires and toss oranges into the ocean against a backdrop of fireworks. Celebrated with gusto on Playa de las Canteras, as well as in Arucas and Telde, the festival coincides with the founding of Las Palmas, so the party in the capital is particularly impressive.

Corpus Christi
The tradition of flower-petal carpets has been lost in many parts of Spain, but is still firmly a part of Canarian culture. Don’t miss the mammoth carpet laid out before Las Palmas cathedral; it’s always a true work of art.

Bajada de la Rama (Taking Down of the Branches)
This is a colourful pre-Hispanic rain-making ritual in which locals process to the ocean and beat it with pine branches.

Fiesta de Nuestra Senora del Pino (Festival of Our Lady of the Pine)
Pretty Teror is the setting for this huge party honouring the Canary Islands’ patron saint.

Fiestas del Charco
This Guanche festival sees participants wade through the murky waters of the charco (pond) to catch fish with their bare hands. Strangely good fun.

It feels like there is always a fiesta somewhere in Gran Canaria. Each town or village hosts its own romeria (pilgrimage), which is really a street party featuring traditional dancing and Canarian food.