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Cultural Attractions and Events - Fiestas
The annual programme of fiestas plays an important part of the Spanish cultural calendar both on mainland Spain and here in the Canary Islands.
The first event of the year is always the Arrecife carnival which is celebrated at the beginning of Lent. This is usually a four day long event that includes concerts, all night dancing and of course a colourful procession of floats along the seafront.
This is one of the most popular events on Lanzarote and is one that attracts thousands of people to line the streets. Part of the tradition of the carnival is the "Parranda de Los Buches" which sees masked fishermen dressed in traditional costumes, dancing and hitting onlookers with dried fish bladders filled with air.
The parade ends with an open air party with bands, a fun fair and numerous trade stalls. One word of advice, this party doesn't usually get started until around midnight and is known to keep going until dawn.
If you are driving through any of the residential town or villages towards the end of June each year, you are likely to spot the sites of bonfires being prepared by the local residents.
All of this work is taking place in readiness for the Fiesta of San Juan which takes place on the night between the 23rd - 24th June each year, and bears a remarkable similarity to Guy Fawkes night, which is widely celebrated almost 5 months later back home in the UK.
On Lanzarote however, effigies of a figure known as ‘El Facundo’ are ceremoniously burnt on bonfires throughout the island, and as part of the celebrations, young men also demonstrate their bravery, or stupidity, by either jumping over the flames or attempting to walk barefoot across the embers of the fire.
Another less popular tradition relating to the Fiesta San Juan is that of the ‘first bathe’, for prior to this day it was always considered bad luck for the locals to bathe in the sea.
The most important cultural event that takes place at Puerto del Carmen each year is however, the Fiesta of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, which roughly translates into English as "Our Lady of the Sea", the patron saint of sailors, and which usually takes place on the 2nd Sunday of August.
Central to this celebration is always a colourful maritime procession of specially decorated fishing boats, during which offerings are made to the Virgin and prayers are made in the hope of good catches in the upcoming year.
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