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.
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.