Christmas in the Canary Islands and its traditions

During the last months of the year, especially around the month of December, many Christmas traditions are celebrated in the Canary Islands, some of them are the Bethlehem of sand on the beach of Las Canteras or the Easter Ranchos, a musical tradition that was born in the sixteenth century. In this article we will talk about Christmas in the Canary Islands and its traditions.

Christmas in the Canary Islands, warmth and sun

Something that is very surprising when traveling to the Canary Islands, especially among those who come to spend Christmas, is the warm climate of the islands and its mild temperatures. Just a four-hour flight from most European cities, there is a place where all winter long it is possible to bathe on the beach and sunbathe.

Christmas recipes in the Canary Islands

Christmas in the Canary Islands is an excellent time to get to know and enjoy some of the most curious traditions of the Archipelago. The islands have very old celebrations and traditions, many of them influenced by the number of different cultures that coexisted on the islands for years after colonization and others even older, coming from the activities carried out by the aboriginal Canary Islanders.

Ranchos de Pascua, history of Christmas in the Canary Islands

The Ranchos de Pascua come from the already mentioned Ranchos de Ánimas, typical of the night before All Souls' Day, introduced in the Archipelago by the Franciscans during the XVI century and the XVI and XVII centuries and of which we speak more in depth in this article. These have been present in all the islands, but the custom is deeply rooted especially on the island of Lanzarote.

Easter Ranches at Christmas

The Ranchos de Pascua is a musical tradition that was born in the XVI century, in which different groups would go through the streets during the month of November. In this way, they were able to collect alms to purify their souls. It spread so much that it reached Christmas and they performed on Christmas Eve to the sound of tambourines, castanets and other instruments.

El Tajaraste del Niño, one of the oldest traditions in the world

It is one of the oldest traditions in the Canary Islands and is performed during the Misa del Gallo (Midnight Mass). Known as the Baile del Niño or Tajaraste del Niño, it has undergone several transformations throughout its recent history.

It takes place on Christmas Eve, December 24, at the end of the Midnight Mass. At that time, a group of young people, dressed in traditional costumes, dressed as shepherds or in white shirts, as well as black pants and a red sash, perform a dance with a procession in front of the newborn inside the church. All this accompanied by drums, flutes, tambourines, castanets and tambourines to dance and sing to the rhythm of tajaraste.

Autos de Reyes or the representation of Christmas in the Canary Islands

In addition to the classic Epiphany parades in which children and adults experience the excitement of the visit of Their Majesties from the East, in many towns of the Canary Islands it is also customary to stage the so-called "Autos de Reyes" in which the long journey that the Three Kings made from the East to the portal of Bethlehem to adore the Child Jesus and give him his gifts is represented in a theatrical way.

It has several variants depending on the locality or the place where it is represented: the interior of a church, the main square of the town, or even in various scenarios distributed throughout the town, as in the Gran Canarian town of Agüimes, whose Auto de Reyes is one of the most multitudinous of the islands, bringing together more than 300 participants in the staging.

Welcoming the year with a good swim

The mild climate of the Canary Islands, known for being one of the best climates in the world, offers the opportunity to welcome the new year in an unusual way and this is from the beach. A Canarian tradition that symbolizes renewal and purity, and is said to bring luck for the whole year, is to welcome the new year with a dip. A refreshing and revitalizing experience to start off on the right foot.

The Canary Islands is a land with a thousand things to see, explore and learn about. If you are interested in knowing more interesting facts about the Canary Islands, here is the link to the Culture and Traditions section.

Paula Vera



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