Celebrating Who We Are

baile de magos1
On May 30th schools, banks, councils and many offices will close for Dia de Canarias, or Canary Islands Day, celebrating the islands’ culture and people as well as marking the anniversary of the first regional parliament session which took place on May 30, 1983.
Many emigrants may dismiss the day as just another bank holiday – but really it’s just as much about us too, and certainly our children, the new generation of Canarians, as it is about the islands’ past. If we live here, particularly in Adeje where more than 120 nationalities make up the local population, it’s our day as well. And it’s a delight to see how the schools here encourage the children to learn about the past, link it to the present and make it part of their future. Our children, with British, Italian, Swedish, German, Bulgarian, Senegalese or Russian roots know they are Canarian as well, and wear their costumes with pride and delight.
It’s no wonder. The history of these islands is full of colour, conquest, mystery (where exactly did the fair haired tall blue-eyed Guanches really come from), wars and worship, from Nelson’s only defeat and loss of an arm to the arrival of the black Virgin de la Candelaria. And then there are the really colourful costumes, different styles for different regions, from urban to rural, island to island, village to village, not to mention the dances, food and drink. What’s not to love?
In many of the island’s schools, certainly public schools, the children will be asked to wear some form of traditional costume for a fiesta normally held the day before, May 29th . It needn’t be too complicated either or expensive – a long single colour or patterned skirt and white blouse for the girls and black trousers, white shirt and waistcoat for boys.
Here in Adeje, as in many parts of the islands, there will also be a ‘Baile de Magos’, or traditional costume dance, in the Plaza España on Thursday May 29th. The Baile de Magos is organised jointly by the Adeje council and the Adeje Folklore Group and will also be broadcast live on air on the municipal station, Radio Sur Adeje 107.9. It’s free to go along and take part, but you must wear a traditional Canarian costume. The Plaza will be laid out with a series of long tables and people bring their own food and drink. Places at the tables must be booked in advance, whether you are two persons or a group of twenty. To reserve your place phone the Adeje department of culture, 922 75 62 46, by Wednesday. However you don’t need to have a table place to attend the ball, just, as mentioned, traditional dress of some description.
Among the folklore groups taking part are Igonce from Candelaria, Añate from La Victoria, La Diata, La Asociación Cultural Imoque, Las Parrandas Mesturao, Boleros de Armeñime and Boca del Paso, Santa Ana, and, of course, the Adeje Folklore Group. And don’t worry if you don’t know any of the traditional dances, people will be delighted if you do your best to join in, or sit back and relax and watch the groups, and dancers young and old, as they revel in their musical traditions.

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And if you fancy more local colour and sounds, the I Imoque Folklore Festival will take place in the Plaza San Sebastián in La Caleta, with performances by a number of cultural associations including Arboneo and Miradero from Icod, the Tetir Folklore group from Fuerteventura with the special participation of Domingo Rodríguez Oramas “El Colorao”. This event is jointly organised by the Adeje council and the Adeje Imoque Cultural Group.
So this week be Canarian in spirit. It’ll make you even happier that you decided to live here.


Low-cost Canarian Day?

The crisis has many knock-on effects, and the way those extra costs add up is no help.
While we budget on a monthly basis for essentials such as the rent or mortgage, food, school meals, and things like a birthday present or two when the kids are invited, there’s always another expensive surprise around the corner.
This month Canarians celebrate Día de Canarias, or Canarian day, and for many of us ex-pats with children in schools here, we are at a bit of a financial loss. Given that a)we live here and have chosen to do so and b)many of our children are actually Canarians having been born here or at least grown up here, they and we should and want to celebrate the day, but it costs money. While Canarian families, families that have their roots here, will have easier access to costumes, from older sisters, brothers, cousins, and friends, and will probably have a greater use for Canarian dress for many of us ex-pats it’s a bit of a stretch with no traditional resources to fall back on. And though it’s not the soaring cost of First Holy Communion (that’s another kettle of loaves and fishes), we’re talking at least €40 for a blouse, skirt, hat and scarf, if it’s to be done properly. And really its just for one day.
I know that this year, thankfully, some teachers are taking note of the financial difficulties that many families find themselves it, and are slimming down the Canarian day celebrations with some of the previous mini parades through local streets now optional so the pressure to dress your kid head to toe in traditional gear is minimised.
Here’s an idea though. Many of us, if we have lived here for a few years and made friends among the parents of other school goers, can sometimes rely on the Canarian costumes of older sisters or brothes of friends, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to create a pool of costumes that could be lent out for the festivities and returned to a central kind of wardrobe cleaned and ready for families next year. Ideally this would be organised though the local schools, but if the problem is seen as particularly ex-pat in nature, maybe through forums that we are already using.
I throw it out there for what it’s worth. Would it be a workable idea? Even if it’s too late for this year we could think of something like this in advance for next year. What do you think?