As islanders, the Canarian people have kept their own traditions and customs throughout centuries, forging a very peculiar cultural identity. All of the villages in the municipality of Tías bear the memory of their sea-bound past, of the endless days of hard work and man’s constant battle to survive in an arid and complex environment with scarce natural resources. These difficulties have also shaped their character, marked by strong religious beliefs and an unyielding faith, as reflected in their temples, religious festivities, folklore and their own myths and legends.
A game of precision throwing that belongs to the boules family, with similar rules to those of pétanque. It is played on an enclosed rectangular surface of sand that was traditionally positioned near bars and canteens. There are many pitches on the island, often by the sea and in the village squares. If you would like to watch a game, go down to the Varadero dock. There, the locals get together almost on a daily basis to show off their skill and talent in close games that go on into the night.
Canarian wrestling is the sport of the Canary islands par excellence and has been played on all eight islands since the 15th century. The rules are simple: two rivals face one another on a ring of sand with the sole aim of knocking down their opponent. Skill and brainpower are always preferred over brute force. It is unique in the beauty of the technique involved and its elegance. The best wrestlers are known as pollos, literally meaning chicks.
What was originally a task to create instruments for domestic chores has now become traditional craftsmanship with the passing of time. Such is the case of the production of decorative tablecloths and embroidered or lace fabrics, baskets woven out of palm leaves to keep food fresh, or hand-made pots for the kitchen. Tías is currently home to a number of producers of wind instruments. These luthiers design and manufacture timples, mandolins, oboes and guitars following a meticulous, mathematical and well-respected method. Tías is also a land of weavers, who make girdles, shawls, bags and traditional outfits on the loom. Today, they use cotton, lambswool, linen or synthetic fabrics. In olden days, they would use camel wool. There are also several craftsmen and women devoted to contemporary creative crafts.
Lanzarote’s cuisine, though simple, has been capable of creating a variety of dishes by combining the few, quality products its little rainfall would yield. The base of the diet are potatoes, sweet potatoes, meets (pork, goat, rabbit and chicken), pulses (lentils, broad beans, green beans, chickpeas and peas), seasonal vegetables and fish, which are thrown together to make stews, sancocho, brews and soups (potato and noodle, millet or fish, for instance). But without a doubt, the most popular and famous product of our gastronomy is mojo, a delicious and often spicy pepper sauce. This sauce can be prepared in many ways and with different flavours, but is an essential ingredient in sancocho and a great accompaniment for other dishes.
The word folklore defines a people’s array of traditions, legends, beliefs, customs and proverbs. But here we will be focusing especially on the musical side. Some experts believe that the islands’ musical folklore is a blend between aboriginal beats, peninsular sounds that crossed the ocean during the conquests and colonisations, and a subsequent contribution of Caribbean chords imported by Canarian emigrants. The rich and varied musical folklore of the Canary islands was born from this initial blend of cultures and would later be influenced by tradesmen of Genoese, Jewish, Flamencan and British origin, as well as the flow of people coming and going between the Canary Islands and America. During the 19th and 20th century, the islands felt the influence of cultures as distant as central Europe and Latin America. This is the period of waltzes, polkas, mazurkas and the like, which were essentially played using string instruments (such as the guitar, timple, lute or violin) and have since become part of the area’s musical tradition. From Latin America came the habanera, the decima, the Cuban punto, the bolero and others, which would eventually merge with other well-known genres and become part of our culture.