Fiestas and Public Holidays

If you're holidaying on La Palma and not sure why shops, offices and banks are closed mid-week - or why buses are not as frequent as you expected, it's probably a Public Holiday.
In which case here is a useful list of Public Holidays on La Palma, or Bank Holidays as they are called in the UK.
But if you're wondering why everyone, yes everyone, is dressed in white and throwing talcum powder at each other - or why people are sobbing about a giant sardine, oh well that's different. It's fiesta time!
And this is the page where you'll find out a little bit about them and when to expect them. Although we don't claim this list to be comprehensive but enough to steer you through some of celebrations.

Los Indianos

Epiphany

Los Indianos

01 January - Año Nuevo/New Year’s Day - Public Holiday
5th January
- the Parade of the Three Wise Men to celebrate Epiphany when gifts were brought for baby Jesus. This is the time of year in the Canary Islands when children receive gifts, rather than at Christmas, although these days they sometimes receive gifts at Christmas as well. Whilst there is a fiesta in many parts of the island, Santa Cruz is particularly good along with Los Llanos, Fuencaliente and Los Sauces where some years, the kings arrive on real camels
6th January - Epifanía del Señor/Epiphany - Public Holiday
End of January/ start of February - Fiesta of the Almond Blossom, Puntagorda. Folk music, bands and dancing help to celebrate the beautiful pink blossom of the almond trees and it's also a good chance to see the traditional costume of La Palma. Additionally, there are displays of embroidery and other handicrafts along with bars and food stands
Monday, 24 February, 2020 - Los Indianos, Santa Cruz de La Palma and Los Llanos. A big and crazy fiesta which symbolizes the return of Palmerans from Venezuela and Cuba having made their riches. As white clothing symbolizes wealth, everybody wears white and to emphasise this, people throw talcum powder over each other (by the kilo). It's fun!

 

03 May

Sardines

03 May

Easter
During Easter there are processions around the island but Santa Cruz de La Palma, Los Llanos de Aridane, San Andrés y Sauces and Tijarafe are particularly recommended
Jueves Santo/Maundy Thursday - Public Holiday
Viernes Santo/Good Friday - Public Holiday
March
- Entierro de la Sardina/Burial of the Sardine. Throughout March in most towns on La Palma, this is the big day to 'Bury the Sardine' although it is in fact more of a cremation. So after much dancing and general celebration, the sardine is set alight to the accompaniment of fireworks shooting up from the glamorous body. The history of this festival may be to represent fasting and abstinence (although this is hard to detect), the final meal being the sardine.
4th April (or nearest weekend) San Vicente de Ferrer, Franceses, Garafia
01 May Fiesta del Trabajo/Workers’ Day - Public Holiday
3rd May
- Fiesta of the Crosses.  Celebrated in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Juan Adalid (Garafia), Gallegos and Breña Alta. This celebrates the founding of Santa Cruz on 3rd May, 1493 and all crosses around the island are decorated with flowers, silk and jewellery. In Breña Alta, there is a night-time route where crowds of people walk between the crosses

San Antonio Fiesta

Dance of the Dwarfs

San Antonio fiesta

May (last weekend) - Las Cruces de La Laguna/the Crosses of La Laguna, Barlovento
30 May Día de Canarias/Canarian Day - Public Holiday
June
- Corpus Christi, Mazo. Every year the steep, cobbled streets of Mazo are carpeted with flowers and petals. Since 1873 the festival has been characterized by the creation of petal carpets, passageways and decorated altars of flowers. Mazo has been declared a Fiesta of National Tourist interest.
12th/13th June or nearest weekend - Fiesta de San Antonio, Garafia. One of the largest on the island attracting around 2,000 people and lasts three days. Apart from live music on the main stage and other spots around the grounds, there are numerous kiosk bars, stalls with Mexican clothing, fancy goods and a large show of cattle, equine and other animals. There are variations each year with perhaps dog agility or horse cross-country jumping/dressage but always a timed event with oxen pulling weighted sleds around a course
July/August (every five years, 2015, 2020, etc) - La Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves y La Danza de los Enanos/the coming down of the Virgen of the Snow and the Dance of the Dwarfs. A huge fiesta lasting around 18 days and incorporating, to name but a few events, the Dancing of the Dwarfs, Minuet, pilgrimage to the throne and subsequent Bajada of the Virgen del las Nieves when the statue of the Virgin of the Snows is brought down from her church in Nieves to Santa Cruz de la Palma. It’s huge. It's incredible. Don't miss it
The highlight of the fiesta and what La Palma is particularly famous for (in fiesta terms) is the La Danza de los Enanos. Initially appearing dressed as sombre church clergy singing psalms, a dozen of the chosen few disappear into a small tent only to re-appear seconds later dressed as dwarfs who proceed to dance the polka. The contrast is both funny and amazing especially as the outfit transforming them into dwarves entirely convinces the view that they are tiny people and you will puzzle how it's done. Starts late evening and culminates in a procession through the streets at approximately 4 a.m.

 

Traditional Costume

  • IMG_20190629 Puntallana fiesta traditional costume
  • church santo domingo

All Saints

Christmas, Santa Cruz

August - fiestas around the island including traditional dress
August (first fortnight)
- Honor a Ntra. Sra. del Rosario, Barlovento. Two weeks of events which may include a car rally, horse race, live music, fun for the kids, motor bike rally, running race, etc.  Twice very five years, there is the Battle of Lepanto involving the Moors and Christians with a fabulous mock-up of a castle and a boat (being towed across the fields). A lot of fun and a splendid service at the end of it all
15 August Asunción de la Virgen/Assumption - Public Holiday
End of September - Fiesta of the Fufos, Tazacorte. People take the streets mounted on horseback, of the hobby-horse variety.
7th September - Fiesta of the Devil, El Diablo, Tijarafe. A big night (or early morning) when, after much music and dancing, the Devil arrives in the packed main square. To excited and pseudo-terrified screams the Devil proceeds to advance on the crowds as fireworks explode from his body. As he is 'burnt' he runs away and once more it is proved that the Madonna has defeated the devil

Santo Domingo

All Saints

  • cemetery all saints
  • 16.07.10dwarves 009

Christmas, Santa Cruz

7th & 8th October - the Inmaculada Concepción, Santo Domingo de Garafia
October - Ntra. Sra. del Rosario/Our Lady of the Rosary, Barlovento
12th October - Fiesta Nacional de España/Spain Day - Public Holiday
01 November
- Todos los Santos/All Saints Day - Public Holiday
11th November - Fiesta de San Martin. Wine cellars are opened and dinners/fiestas are organised with plenty of wine, grilled chestnuts and pork fat
6th December - Día de la Constitución - Spanish Constitution Day Public Holiday
8th December
- Inmaculada Concepción
Christmas - various celebrations around the island and special masses. Nativity scenes are nothing short of a passion on La Palma with every town and village having an impressive display.  Franceses has a life-size version with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in a cave along with the Three Wise Men surrounded by old farming implements
25 December - Natividad del Señor/Christmas Day - Public Holiday