The popular legend of Gara and Jonay on La Gomera

The Canary Islands have enigmatic and varied legends that serve to go through much of the history of the archipelago and understand the toponymy and typical names. Each island has a multitude of them, the death of Doramas in Gran Canaria; the enigmatic island of San Borondón, to which we have already dedicated a post and you can read it here; the cry of Ferinto, in El Hierro; the devil of Timanfaya in Lanzarote; or the popular legend of Gara and Jonay in La Gomera, which we will talk about next.

Figures of Gara and Jonay

Gara and Jonay, a princess from Gomera and a Guanche from Tenerife

The legend of Gara and Jonay is one of the most romantic legends of the Canary Islands and tells the tragic story between two young lovers Gara and Jonay whose love was doomed to failure.

The legend of Gara and Jonay

In the times of the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands, a beautiful princess named Gara lived in La Gomera. On the island there were some jets, now intact, the Epina jets, which could predict whether or not someone would find love.

During the feast of Beñesmer, the Guanche New Year, Gara and other young women decided to visit the jets and put them to the test. When it was the princess's turn, the water began to become cloudy, showing the figure of a sun on fire. Disgusted, Gara consulted the wise man of the place and he told her: "What will happen, will happen. Flee from the fire, Gara, or the fire will consume you".

Epina Jets in La Gomera

Jonay, a handsome young Guanche son of a mencey from the neighboring island of Tenerife, had traveled to La Gomera for the party. When Gara and Jonay's eyes met, the young people fell madly in love and instantly let their parents know it. At that moment, the sea was filled with sparkles and the great volcano of El Teide began to spit lava.

Then the girl remembered the old sage's prediction. Gara was princess of Agulo, the place of Water. Jonay came from the land of fire, from the island of the volcano. That love was impossible. Under threat, her parents forbade them to see each other again, which calmed the fury of the volcano.

Figures of Gara and Jonay

Back in Tenerife, Jonay could not forget Gara and, under the cover of night, he jumped into the sea ready to swim the distance that separated him from his lover. After reaching the island and meeting her, both fled to El Cedro, at the highest point of La Gomera, while being pursued. The lovers climbed the highest peak of the island and, seeing themselves cornered, took a sharp stick by both ends, rested it on their chests and embraced each other, thus killing them both.

The name of the National Park of La Gomera

The Garajonay National Park owes its name to this popular legend and to the highest peak of the island, of the same name, where the young lovers died together. The park was declared as such in 1981 and in 1986 Unesco listed it as a World Heritage Site. In addition, since 2012 the park is a Biosphere Reserve along with the rest of the island.

Garajonay National Park

La Gomera's great natural treasure is its forests of lush, deep green, laurel-like trees that crown the island's rugged center. The laurel forest, abundant millions of years ago, is now found in very few places in the world and its best representation is protected within the nearly 4,000 hectares of ravines with streams and steep ridges of the Garajonay National Park.

If you want to know more about the traditions and culture of the Canary Islands, here is the link to the section of Marca Canaria about traditions and culture.

Paula Vera



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