The traditional game of bola canaria

The game of pelota or bola canaria is a traditional game of the Archipelago similar to petanque . The main difference between the two is that the balls used in the Canarian game are much heavier and the field is larger.

Lord playing canary ball

Canarian ball is a game of throwing and precision, like petanque, although the latter is much better known. Besides, after football, it is the game with the most federative cards in the Canary Islands.

History of the bola canaria

There are no known documents that establish how the game of bola canaria arrived on the islands. Its antecedents can be found in French and Castilian games from the 15th century and it is believed that it arrived in the Canary Islands with the first conquistadors and was adapted.

Children playing bola canaria

In the archipelago Lanzarote is considered to be the most important centre of bola canaria. This is why the game is also known as "bola conejera". The game spread between the different islands, such as Tenerife and Gran Canaria, with the emigrations of the conejeras at the end of the 19th century. Nowadays, the practice of bola canaria is present on all the islands.

Features of this traditional game

The game of bola canaria consists of throwing a ball from a starting line known as a "ray" . The aim is to get as close as possible to a smaller ball, known as "miche" or "mingue", with as many of the team's own balls as possible. The players take it in turns, deciding on the spot which team member should shoot.

The dimensions of the field on which the game is played are between 18 and 25 metres long and between 3 and 6 metres wide. On the other hand, the material of the pitch can be earth, chalk or sand.

Canary ball

The balls have a diameter of between 90 and 120 millimetres and weigh a minimum of one kilo and a maximum of 1.2 kilos. Regarding the material used to make the balls, those made of white wood are considered to be the best. However, nowadays, the use of the pasta ball is very widespread.

The boliche or mingue, essential in the development of the game, as it is the piece that acts as a reference, is metallic and has a diameter of 35 to 45 millimetres, as well as a minimum weight of 50 grams and a maximum of 500 grams.

Measuring the results in a game of canary ball

The games in this game usually last twelve turns and it is common to play more than one in a row. As for the balls, the number of balls per team is twelve and they are distributed among the different players, being three the maximum number of balls that each player can have. In addition, teams are usually made up of four players.

The balls of one team are differentiated from those of the other by the presence, or not, of a stripe. In other cases, a cross or a small nail or simply the use of different colours depending on the team. The team that first reaches two wins wins wins.

If you want to know more traditional games practised in the Canary Islands, here are some links that may be of interest to you: Lucha del garrote, a traditional sport of the Canary Islands; The Canarian tradition of the shepherd's leap; Lucha canaria, the most popular sport ofthe Canary Islands.

Paula Vera

Photos: infonortedigital.com; youtube.com; ondafuerteventura.es

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