Fiestas and Festivals
Lanzarote boasts an abundance of unique fiestas and festivals that are well worth visiting. Virtually all of these events are religious in origin – but you don't have to be a Catholic or a Conejero to get involved. We've featured some of the biggest and best events below. These are further augmented by Spanish national holidays and more localised fiestas in specific villages, towns and municipalities throughout the year. So if you´re planning to book one of our Lanzarote villas or apartments you might want to coincide your visit with one of these events,
Dia De Los Reyes – January 5th/6th
In Spain it's the Three Wise men who come bearing gifts, not Santa Claus. And as a result Twelfth Night, or Epiphany, is one of the most important events on the festival calendar. Especially if you are a kid – as this is when (officially anyway) you get your Christmas presents.
The event is marked with a colourful camel back procession as the Three Kings dispense sweets to children throughout the main towns on the island.
The best place to watch the festivities is in the island's capital Arrecife, where a large scale and well attended procession takes place on the evening of January 5th, usually commencing at 6pm.
The procession is also repeated later in Puerto del Carmen along the main Avenida de las Playas, normally from 9pm.
Processions also make their way through every town and village on the island.
Carnaval – Dates Vary
Carnival in the Canary Islands is a serious business. After Rio de Janeiro these seven specks of Spain host some of the biggest and most riotous celebrations in the world, especially on the island of Tenerife.
Lanzarote does it's bit too though – and many holiday makers time their visit to coincide with this annual event, which traditionally kicks off in the last week or so of Februrary.
Carnival takes place on different dates in different locations – but the best places to catch the action are in Arrecife and Puerto del Carmen. In Arrecife the event stretches across a week or so – building up to the main procession, which features brilliantly decorated floats, fantastic costumes and lots of riotous music and dancing.
Smaller scale versions of the event also take place in Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca.
Corpus Christi : Mid-June
After Carnival, Corpus Christi has to be Lanzarote's most colourful event.
As with most fiestas and festivals on the island the best place to take in the celebrations is in the capital, Arrecife.
On the Saturday afternoon following Corpus Christi islanders create incredibly intricate carpets of sea salt, in elaborate and colourful designs, all along the roads and pavements around the Church of San Ginés (adjacent to the El Charco Area).
The next day a major procession proceeds from the Church across the carpets of salt. So these works of art are visible for one day only.
The date of this fiesta changes every year – so keep an eye on the Events section of the Lanzarote Guidebook homepage.
Canarian Day - Dia de Canarias – May 30th
May 30th marks the date when the Canaries first gained autonomy from Spain, back in 1983. And now it’s an annual holiday across all of the seven islands in the archipelago.
The fiesta is a celebration of Canarian culture and events are held across the island. School kids don traditional dress, tuck into local dishes and dance to folklore music. The Canarian flag (white, blue and yellow) flies everywhere and the Cabildo organises fishing, Canarian wrestling and game hunting competitions.
Even the local supermarkets get in on the act with loads of free food and wine tastings. And most hotels mark the event, usually with themed food and folklore celebrations - so everyone has a chance to celebrate the event.
Nuestra Señora del Carmen - mid to late July
The actual official Saints day of Nuestra Señora del Carmen is 16th July. From this date onwards a variety of events and celebrations are held in various towns around Lanzarote, including Teguise, Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen.
The most impressive aspect of this saint’s day is the maritime procession, when the effigy of Saint Carmen is paraded out of the church and carried through the town, down to the water’s edge. Where a boat festooned with flowers transports the saint out onto the waves. The boat carrying her likeness is surrounded by a flotilla of fishing vessels, as the fishermen make their annual blessing of the sea and pray for a bountiful catch during the coming year.
Both Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen have churches dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Carmen. A repetition which testifies to both towns’ origins as small fishing villages, when many local families survival would have depended on the haul they could bring in from the sea.
The historical significance of the fiesta can be traced back all the way to the maritime town of Haifa in Israel. Which is where the cult of Carmen (or Carmel, as she is known there) began.
Its emergence as a focal point in the Roman Catholic calendar occurred over centuries, but certainly by the eighteenth century, the current style of festival had begun.
An admiral, Antonio Barcélo Pont de la Terra, native of Mallorca introduced a gala amongst his ship’s crew in honour of Carmen. Today on this Balearic island the same commemoration still takes place, in the town of Port d’Andratx.
On the mainland, in areas such as Fuengirola, similar processions occur, with the effigy of Carmen at their centre. Likewise Tenerife also has its own Fiesta of Sra. Del Carmen, except that it is celebrated in September, on the first Sunday of the month. But the same traditions are observed nonetheless.
Fiesta de San Gines – 15th-25th August
This major fiesta is in honour of Arrecife's patron saint San Gines.
San Gines was formerly the Bishop of Clermont. During the 16th century he was responsible for the construction of a small hermitage, now the Church de San Gines, that ministered to the nearby population of the small inland port area, called El Charco (also known locally as the puddle).
Legend has it that during the 1700's a portrait of the Bishop appeared, floating on the waters of El Charco. And from that moment on the "porteños" (port dwellers) proclaimed him the Patron Saint of the city.
Whatever the truth of the legend it’s a great excuse for a fiesta. And during the daytime much of the activity is concentrated around the El Charco area itself, where traditional island sports such as Canarian sailing and wrestling are celebrated and a new Miss Lanzarote is elected annually.
The whole event then culminates in an impressive and extremely well attended fireworks display on the main beach promenade next to the Arrecife Gran Hotel on the night of the 25th, usually starting at around 23.30 hrs.
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores - September
Fantastic fiesta celebrating the island's patron saint and marking the point where the flow of lava from yet another volcanic eruption miraculously came to a halt in 1824 just outside the village of Mancha Blanca.
This attracts serious crowds – most in traditional Canarian dress – with many walking on foot to Mancha Blanca from all over the island as a form of pilgrimage. Often accompanied by supermarket trolleys full of ‘refreshments’.
In Mancha Blanca itself the action revolves around the church, where Dolores is paraded – as well as around the huge array of mobile bars and food stalls that spring up especially for the event.