30 May is Día de Canarias

Today, 30 May, is Día de Canarias, a public holiday with many official events taking place and shops and offices closed, at least those away from the main tourist areas. The day celebrates the anniversary of the first official Parliamentary session of the islands on 30 May 1983, some 10 months after the Canaries became an autonomous region of Spain in August 1982.

Apart from the formal and official events that are always held, the day is celebrated throughout the islands with a wide range of cultural events and festivities, usually organized by local Ayuntamientos, including a Baile de Magos, a dinner dance. These are free to attend but anyone taking part must wear traditional Canarian clothing, and dinner is provided by attendees themselves and served like an evening picnic on long communal tables whose places are reserved in advance. Needless to say, the music goes on for much of the night! 

The Baile de Magos is thought to be so called following the Spanish conquerers of the island identifying the native Canarians as magos because though uneducated, from a Conquistador perspective at least, they had a culture and religion focused on nature and especially the stars. How easy that would be to understand given the clarity of our night skies here but really it’s specifically connected to the Canarians’ ancient worship of Magec, the Sun God. For the incoming Spanish, it marked the “peasants” out as magos … and since this word is connected with the Magi and “magic, an ancient etymology indicating technique or skill, the Baile de Magos is often affectionately and familiarly known as the Magicians’ Ball!

Día de Canarias is the last island-wide bank holiday now until Asunción de la Virgen/Assumption on 15 August, though there are some mid-summer municipal bank holidays throughout the summer; there’s a link to them all – municipal, insular and regional – HERE.