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Fiestas of El Palmar Native Sports Day

Lucha Canaria (Canarian Wrestling)

First published in 2007, with fiestas finally making a comeback after two years without, due to the pandemic, it seemed an ideal time to revive this and give a new audience an insider's view of these delightful events. Being traditional in nature, it's doubtful there'll be much change in the intervening fifteen years and, most towns and villages have similar fiestas, with a similar program.

Canarian wrestling is the most popular of the indigenous sports. Requiring both strength and skill, the winner is the wrestler who makes their opponent touch the floor first with any part of their body aside from the feet. It has more in common with a Japanese martial art than wrestling as we know it in the UK or the US. 

Lucha is "gentlemanly", in that opponents don't seek to hurt one another and they shake hands before each bout. They also help each other up afterwards too: good manners that the guy in charge was constantly instilling into the kids present and, running the ring in a similar way as I have seen martial arts masters run a dojo

Junior wrestlers from Buenavista, Icod de los Vinos and San Juan de la Rambla provided the demonstration: six lads and one girl, who was certainly no easy opponent for the boys she wrestled. All made much more fun for the crowd when they got volunteer kids from the village to have a go at wrestling too.

Juego de Palo (Stick fighting)

Before the wrestling, there was a demonstration of Juego de Palo (Stick fighting), which originates from techniques of defence and attack used by the Guanches, ancient inhabitants of Tenerife. Now a sport where no is harm inflicted, it has become a type of fencing match between two combatants armed with wooden sticks. We've all seen Robin Hood and Little John doing something similar. 

Bola Canaria (Canarian boules)

The older 'boys' played Bola Canaria (Canarian boules), which is similar to the French sport of petanque. In both games the idea is to get closest to the jack but in the Canarian game the boules are heavier and the playing area larger.

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