A small rock in the Atlantic

All about the island of La Palma, in the Canaries.

Click for La Palma, Canary Islands Forecast

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Devil's Dance

The devil's fiesta in Tijarafe

As usual, the devil paid a visit to Tijarafe's annual fiesta.

It starts off like most fiestas. The village centre is off the main road, and on the way in, I passed mobile bars, blasting out music at full volume. The only surprise was that the music was drum and bass. When I reached the main square, higher up, I found it decorated with white bunting and packed with people dancing to the salsa band. I arrived at 2 am, and the crowd looked like it was just warming up.

Something I always notice at Palmeran fiestas - a lot of the younger people are pretty drunk, but it's very rare to see a fight. In fact I don't think I saw as much as a rude gesture in the hour and a half I was there.

Finally, at about 3:30 am, the giants and big heads appeared. These are standard carnival characters, and they wouldn't excite adults normally, but they're a sign that the devil will appear any minute.

The devil's fiesta in Tijarafe

The band launches into the traditional song, which goes something like, "Tra-la-la-la, the devil's coming soon." And then, sure enough, he appears.

It's a man wearing a metal suit covered with lit fireworks, and he heads straight for the middle of the crowd. Most of the jet is directed upwards, and I don't think you'd get serious burns if you got too close, but most people try to get away (I wouldn't wear your best clothes to this fiesta. I really wouldn't). Of course some people farther away try to get closer, so the result is a lot of pushing and shoving. I was glad to be on the stone wall at the side of the square.

Meanwhile the band is singing, "Tra-la-la-la, the devil's here now," and "Tra-la-la-la, the party's not over yet."

After about five to ten minutes of this chaos, the devil runs out of fireworks and goes away again. And then the crowd thins out pretty rapidly as people go home.

The devil's fiesta in Tijarafe

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark with:

Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Facebook Furl It Newsvine StumbleUpon ToolbarStumbleUpon


Post a Comment

<< Home