Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Public holidays in the Canary Islands

Another reader's question: "What holidays are celebrated in the Canary Islands?", the answer is that these are primarily based upon the Public holidays celebrated in Spain, which includes a mix of religious (Roman Catholic), national and regional observances.

National Holidays
 DateEnglish nameLocal name
January 1New Year's DayAño Nuevo
moveableGood Friday Viernes Santo
May 1Labour DayDía del Trabajador
August 15AssumptionAsunción
October 12 Columbus Day Día de la Hispanidad
November 1 All Saints Todos los Santos
December 6 Constitution Day Día de la Constitución
December 8 Immaculate Conception Inmaculada Concepción
December 25 Christmas Day Navidad del Señor


In addition to those, Canaries Day - Día de Canarias is celebrated here on May 30th and Epiphany - Día de Reyes is a public holiday on January 6th. Although the latter is listed as optional, it is the big day of the Christmas period, so I think there would be civil unrest if it wasn't observed!

Wikipedia additionally says that Holy Thursday - Jueves Santo (the day before Good Friday), is not observed as a holiday in the Canary Islands. However, every year except 2007 (when it was swapped out for something else and many complained) it has been observed here, to my knowledge.

You also have to add local holidays, usually for the patron / fiesta of individual towns. Shops might close in one area, but are open just a few miles away. In Santa Cruz, Shrove Tuesday is always a holiday for Carnaval.

But visitors need not worry about finding things to do and getting fed. With the economy relying on tourism, somewhere will be open 365 days a year, particularly in the resorts. And, even in other areas, if the day off is for a fiesta, then there will be processions to watch and plenty of hot dog stalls open!

If you live here, of course, you won't get any important business done on those days and, if you work here in anything to do with the tourist sector, the chances are that you will never have a day off on anyone's public holiday!
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