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Festival de los Dolores 2013

Are you visiting Lanzarote this weekend? If so, you should definitely take part in the Festival de los Dolores, happening in the Tinajo region of the island – with thousands of locals taking part, it’s the biggest fiesta on the Lanzarote calendar, and definitely one for visitors to experience too.

Spanish hat used at the Festival de los Dolores

The festival is held to honour Dolores, the island’s patron saint. The history of the celebration varies depending on who you ask, but according to the most romantic version of the legend, the festival celebrates the power of prayer from just one single woman.  During the 18th and 19th centuries, Lanzarote was plagued with volcanic eruptions. In 1824, a volcano erupted and lava started flowing towards Mancha Blanca, threatening to devastate the village. A humble local woman – Dolores – started praying for her village’s safety, and miraculously the flow of lava stopped before it hit the town.

Lanzarote church

The people of Lanzarote believe that this was a very special miracle, and so pay homage to her every year. Thousands of people dress up in traditional Canarian clothes and make the pilgrimage to her village from wherever they live on the island, normally accompanied with a shopping trolley of refreshments to help the party along the way.

Around mid-afternoon, the statue of the patron saint is taken out of the church, and paraded around the town. The whole village bursts into celebration, with many stalls popping up especially for the occasion selling beautiful crafts and delicious food and drink. Look out for traditional Spanish instruments called timples being played alongside guitars and try some local dishes such as rabbit stew, seafood and tapas.

The procession starts in Mancha Blanca at 4pm, then the festivities go on until late. Locals and visitors alike dance the night away, enjoying good food and revelling in the party atmosphere that has made Lanzarote famous.

If you are on holiday in the Tinajo region, then you should definitely get involved. It’s one celebration on the island that is not to be missed!

Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pamela Stocks

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