La Traída de Palo is one of the standout events at the Fiestas of San Roque de Firgas, in Gran Canaria
The fiestas of San Roque, in Firgas (Gran Canaria), are absolutely priceless. In 1846, the butler of the figure of the Patron Saint spent two and a half silver reales coins on buying a flag to place it at the top of the stick which even today, following an age-old tradition, is brought down from the mountain in amongst the bustle of the crowds who come here every month of August. In 2017, this ancient custom that originated in the hills of the island will be taking place on Saturday, 5th August, from 20.00.
Visitors coming to this festival will get a real insight into a municipality that is packed with ethnographic and natural values. It is no wonder then that the fervour of San Roque should have taken hold at this municipality, with many miracles having been attributed to the saint for the his supposed healing powers, around the 16th century. This is how traditions have travelled through time and space. Those primitive fears spawned religious beliefs and a fiesta, with a programme that ends on the Saturday with the Traída del Palo (bringing down of the stick) along with the Great San Roque night time street party which runs through to the early hours.
Firgas is all about life in the country, customs and harvests, crafts, flavours, memories and sounds. The farmers’ and craft market which is to be held on Sunday, 6th August 2017, from 10.00, provides an insight into the wealth of treasures the region possesses. Then in the evening, kicking off at 20.30, is the Beauty Queen Contest and the Fiestas of the Elder Male and Female Pilgrim. It is a chance to see these popular events that go on in Gran Canaria first hand, and to do so shoulder to shoulder with the local residents, who are rightly proud of their fiestas and keen to welcome anyone who wants to come along and enjoy them.
Firgas’ character is defined by its own geography, a uniquely beautiful one which provides a setting for some splendid natural countryside and which reaches its full splendour in the Doramas Rural Park and the Azuaje Special Nature Reserve. So stopping off at any one of these sites is the perfect prelude to arriving at the historical town centre, and to experience the fiestas in honour of San Roque.
The following Saturday, on 12th August, the festivities start at eleven o’clock in the morning with a kids’ fiesta featuring a range of workshops and a foam party. Music will once again be taking centre stage, from 20.30 onwards with the celebration of the 6th annual Miguel Gil Villa de Firgas Folkloric Gathering at the Plaza de San Roque.
On Sunday 13th August the scene will be set for the 3rd annual Historical, Literary and Musical Tour in the town centre of Firgas. Then at five o’clock in the afternoon it will be the turn for the fun chariot race. Later on at 21.30 in the evening, music will reach a crescendo with a performance by Los Sabandeños, one of the most important and popular folkloric groups in Spain.
The pilgrimage of offering will then take place at six o’clock in the evening on 15th August. Popular fervour will reverberate all the way round the route, together with the sounds of the timple guitar and bandurria mandolin all the way through to nightfall. At midnight it will look like daytime will be making an early appearance, thanks to the bright, sparkling firework display. Once the bright flashes have dimmed and the breezes have blown away the smell of gunpowder it will once again be a perfect August night here at the heart of the volcanic crater the town of Firgas snuggles into.
16th August signals the great day of the fiestas, with the celebration at midday of the solemn religious mass, followed by the procession of the figures of San Roque and the Virgin of El Rosario. The day will draw to a close with the Regional Gathering of Soloists from the 8 Islands from nine o’clock in the evening onwards. This is how, year after year, traditions are kept alive, with their deep roots shooting out under the fertile lands of Firgas.