It is very difficult in Lanzarote to determine exact dates of events, when they started and where. Carnival, or Mardi gras, is no exception, and there is a theory saying that it arrived in the island with the Spanish, during the XV century. Being Lanzarote the first island of the archipelago to be conquered, it is logical to assume that the first celebration of Carnival took place in this island, but the lack of documentation makes it almost impossible to confirm this fact.
We'll begin then by trusting the memory of our elders, who lived, and continue to live, the Carnival.
It is said that in those times groups of inhabitants use to go out, dressed in customs and their faces darkened with burnt cork, and visit the homes of the neighbours, who offered them food and drinks prepared especially for the occasion. The boat owners used to donate the fish, so there was no lack of fish stew in the homes of the islanders, who opened their doors to everybody who wanted to have something to eat or drink; it was like a big family celebration.
Unfortunately, due to some excesses committed by the guests, the tradition of having such things as food and drink was abandoned.
There were also fights called "the four corners", when two groups met and all ended up in a brawl.
Music was an essential part of the Carnival, and instruments like the accordion and the "forito" were always present at these sailor's parties.
Another custom during these festivities was the "buche" (the stomach of a fish), but its beginnings are also unknown.
The stomach was taken out of the fish, and then a string would be loosely tied around the mouth of the stomach, two people would hold both ends of the string in their mouths and a third person would introduce a small steel tube into the fish stomach and begin blowing to inflate it. When this was achieved, the person who was doing the blowing would stomp his foot on the ground, this being the signal to the other two players to pull hard from the ends of the string, he would then withdraw the steel tube and the "buche" was sealed. After this ritual was done they would go to the beach close to the San Gabriel Castle, where they would soak it in water and later cover it with oil to cure or harden it.
In 1963, a few friends got together and asked permission to create a group similar to those who represented so well the carnival festivities in the old times. The permission was granted and the group took the name of "La Parranda Los Buches" (loosely translated: "Musical Bunch Los Buches"). In 1964 they went to Las Palmas and caused quite an impression, since everybody expected to see just a group of musicians, but when they saw the "bucheros" more than one got a real scare.
NOTE: We would like to acknowledge the kindness and help of the group "La Parranda de los Buches" and "La Casa del Miedo" (House of Fear), without them this page could not have been made
Old photographs of the Arrecife Carnivals
Photographs of Arrecife Carnival 2001
Two albums with photographs of Arrecife Carnival 2001
Esta pagina ha sido realizada por Sarabel y Chino.
E-Mail: Sarabel y Chino