Canarian Christmas represented by the Ranchos de Pascua

The Canary Islands have very old festivities and traditions, many of them influenced by the many different cultures that lived together on the islands for years after colonisation and others even older, originating from the activities carried out by the aboriginal Canary Islanders. One of these ancient traditions of the islands, linked to these dates around Christmas, are the Ranchos de Pascua, characteristic, above all, of the island of Lanzarote.

Easter Ranches at Christmas

In the Canarian lexicon, the term "rancho" is very polysemic, as it refers to the famous "rancho", but also to a gathering of people around a musical or folkloric stall. the stew we are talking about in this articlebut also to a gathering of people around a musical or folkloric stall.

History of Easter Ranches

The Ranchos de Pascua come from the aforementioned Ranchos de Ánimas, typical of the night before All Souls' Day, introduced in the Archipelago by the Franciscans during the 16th century and the 16th and 17th centuries and which we talk about in more depth in this article. Easter Ranchos have been present on all the islands, but the custom is deeply rooted especially on the island of Lanzarote.

Rancho de Pascua celebrating Christmas

Also known as Ranchos de Navidad, the Ranchos de Pascua were influenced by the traditions of the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal, together with the strong Moorish legacy, as were the Ranchos de Ánimas. All these influences have enriched the islands with traditions that are still celebrated, such as the so-called Posadas de Femés.


The main instrument of these groups is the tambourine, although over the years other instruments have been introduced, such as the castanets, the triangle, the timple and the guitar.

Easter Ranchos of Teguise

The songs tend to have a poetic, pastoral and religious tone, which hint at the Arab influence brought by the settlers, as well as the Portuguese influence.

Currently: Lanzarote

Today, the Easter Ranchos are mainly concentrated on the eastern islands, while the westernmost islands have preserved groups known as "Lo Divino", which are very similar to the Easter Ranchos and have a similar origin.

One of the best known Easter Ranchos on the island of Lanzarote is that of the Villa de Teguise, and it is also one of the oldest in the Canary Islands. Its appearance dates back to the 16th century and already in those days they used to sing in the church on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and Epiphany.

If you visit Lanzarote around Christmas time, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the Ranchos de Pascua, both in Teguise and in other towns, as they are still being organised so that this centuries-old tradition is not lost.

Paula Vera



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