Gran Canaria Events, Fiestas and Festivals
(Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain)
One of the largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria offers an extensive calendar of events, which take place all over the island, throughout the year. Many of Gran Canaria's biggest and most spectacular events are centred around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the island's capital, including the Festival de Música de Canarias in January, the Festival de Opera each February, the Jazz Fest in July, and the International Film Festival of Las Palmas every August.
Other notable festivals and events around Gran Canaria include the colourful February carnivals, Holy Week celebrations at Easter time, and the Fiesta de Nuestra Senora del Carmen - based around the Puerto de la Luz harbour in July.
National Public Holidays
- 1st January - Ano Nuevo / New Year's Day
- 5th January - Epifania / Epiphany
- 19th March - Dia de San José / St. Joseph's Day
- Late March or early April - Jueves Santo / Maundy Thursday
- Late March or early April - Viernes Santo / Good Friday
- 1st May - Fiesta del Trabajo / Labour Day
- 15th August - La Asunción / Feast of the Assumption
- 12th October - Nacional de Espana / National Day
- 1st November - Todos los Santos / All Saints' Day
- 6th December - Dia de la Constitución / Constitution Day
- 8th December - La Inmaculada Concepción / Feast of the Immaculate Conception
- 25th December - Navidad / Christmas Day
Calendar of Festivals and Events 2013 / 2014
- Festival de Música de Canarias - early January, a classical music festival in Las Palmas, highly regarded throughout Europe and attracting many fine international orchestras, soloists and conductors, including the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra amongst others.
- Cabalgata de los Reyes (Three Holy Kings / Wise Men) - January 5th, a belated Christmas event, where 'Three Kings' parade on horses or camels through the central streets of Las Palmas and other prominent locations around Gran Canaria, followed by floats distributing presents and sweets to the children in the crowds.
- Festival Internacional de Música Popular (International Music Festival) - late January / early February, a popular folk music festival in Las Palmas, with many visiting groups, including plenty of dancing and concerts.
- Carnaval - early February, held throughout the island of Gran Canaria, carnival festivities are particularly concentrated in and around the island's capital of Las Palmas, featuring a Carnival Queen competition, drag acts, a children's carnival, parades, Latin dancing, a strong party atmosphere and many famous celebrities.
- Festival de Opera - early February, a major international opera festival around the Canary Islands, with the main events being held at the Teatro Pérez Daldós in Las Palmas.
- Festival of Almond Blossom - early February, a traditional festival held throughout Gran Canaria, particularly around the central Tejeda area, as springtime approaches and the almond trees begin to flower. Always popular with tourists, highlights include folk dancing, concerts, food stalls and almond wine tasting.
- Holy Week - mid-March, Holy Week in Gran Canaria, with an array religious festivities and events all over the island, leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
- Fiesta of the Aborigines - late April, held around the Santa Lucia area of Gran Canaria, where the pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the island (Guanches) are remembered, with many traditional celebrations, concerts and dances.
- Womad - mid-May, three days of continuous concerts and music, attracting many famous groups and singers from around the world, originally created by Peter Gabriel. Other attractions at the event include local musicians, workshops, traditional dancing demonstrations and free admission.
- Maspalomas Carnival - mid-May, a colourful gay and lesbian carnival around the Playa del Inglés area of Gran Canaria's Maspalomas resort, with Carnival Queen and Drag Queen contests, together with parades and many events focused on the Yumbo Shopping Centre.
- San Juan (St. John's Day) - late June, celebrating the history of Las Palmas, with many local rituals and festivities, together with open-air concerts, sporting events and theatrical performances, culminating in bonfires and fireworks at various locations around the island.
- Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz and Mas Heineken (International Jazz Festival) - mid-July, lasting around three weeks, with a range of jazz concerts and events around the island, being particularly concentrated in Las Palmas.
- Fiesta de Nuestra Senora del Carmen (Senora of the Carmen Festival) - mid-July, based around the Puerto de la Luz harbour, when a religious statue of the Virgin of Carmen is transported on a boat along the coastline of Las Palmas, with streets being covered in floral decorations. This festival is one of the biggest crowd pullers in Gran Canaria, with thousands of locals and visitors lining the streets and partying into the night.
- Bajada de la Rama - early August, a particularly vibrant fiesta around the coastal town of Agaete. One of Gran Canaria's premier annual events, enormous crowds attend and join in the fun, which includes concerts, dancing, food stalls and demonstrations of traditional Spanish rituals.
- Festival Internacional de Folclore - early August, based around the Villa de Ingenio, located on the southeastern side of Gran Canaria. This international folk festival is a significant cultural event and includes local music and dancing from many large countries around the globe.
- Traida del Agua / Water Fight - early August, a popular fiesta held in the bustling city of Telde, on Gran Canaria's eastern coastline, with fireworks, parades, a large water fight and thousands of spectators.
- Fiesta del Charco (Festival of the Lagoon) - mid-September, a particularly historic event, with sporting contests centred around the lagoon, including fishing and water-based competitions.
- Fiesta de la Naval - early October, held in Gran Canaria's La Isleta district, on the northern side of the island, with a maritime parade, flowers and fireworks, remembering the historic attacks in 1595 by Sir Francis Drake.
- Dia de la Hispanidad / National Day Festival - October 12th, an important public holiday with a range of festivities celebrating the history of Spain, held all over the island of Gran Canaria.
- Romeria de Nuestra Senora de la Luz (Pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady of the Light) - mid-October, with a procession of decorated boats honouring the Virgin.
- Festival Internacional de Cine de Las Palmas (International Film Festival of Las Palmas) - late October / early November, a major film festival attracting famous movie stars and directors, who arrive to screen and promote their latest films in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria area.
- Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) - late November, a notable yacht rally which takes place every year on the last Sunday in November, with yachts leaving Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and sailing to the Caribbean.
- Fiesta de Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Festival) - mid-December, with celebrations centred around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
- New Year's Eve - December 31st, parties and events all over the island celebrate the arrival of the new year, culminating in a number of fireworks displays.