The Fiesta del Charco Party in Aldea de San Nicolás has become a mad and popular mud and fishing competition and party in which each year more people come to participate. On the morning of the 11th of September, the party goers get ready for the Fiesta del Charco, many of them still feeling a little fragile with hangover from the San Nicolás village fair on the two previous days.
Thousands of people come to participate in the towns festivities. in 2015 the authorities counted over 10.000 heads. They meet friends and family to eat and drink at Aldea’s parks, village squares, bars and restaurants. All day long the celebrations are accompanied by music bands such as Banda de Agaete. The correct dress code for the event is the full traditional Canarian attire of the area. Many just come in shorts and t-shirts though, as they will be covered in mud from head to toe after the competition is finished.
The purpose of the celebration is to revive the tradition of the old Canarian fishing style in the area. Around mid day the competing participants make their way to El Charco – the big sea pool which forms in the wetlands when the summer tides are high. When the tide recedes a lot of fish gets trapped in the sea pool.
The Highlights of the Fiesta del Charco
A chalk line about two metres from the edge of the pool, drawn around the whole circumference of the pool, indicates the border which no one is allowed to cross before the signal at 5pm. People start gathering at the line from around midday occupying the best positions for the competition.
From 4pm the crowd becomes dense at the chalk line as everyone is getting ready to jump in the pool. They sing and dance together as the anticipations increases from minute to minute. There are prizes to be won for the biggest fish in size and biggest catch in numbers from the organizers of this event.
At 5 pm the awaited gun shot is fired and the participants run and jump into the charco with their wicker baskets and nets and try to catch as much fish as they can. Some are lucky and catch some real fish while others only find old shoes and other rubbish at the bottom of the pond. But most jump into the pool just for the fun of it. Young people gather together with their nets and take turns at tossing the daring with their fishing nets high up in the air.
After the dip in El Charco all the fish is counted and the winners are announced. For the muddy crowd it is time to take a bath in the sea to take the worst dirt off and then continue celebrating this unique day on the island of Gran Canaria.
La Aldea de San Nicolás
The Fiesta del Charco in Aldea de San Nicolás is certainly another exciting party you should check out if should happen to be here in the beginning of September. But no matter what time of the year you are here it is always worth a trip to check out the small harbour town and have a little stroll in the village.
- Name: Fiesta del Charco
- Where: Aldea de San Nicolás de Tolentino
- When: 11th of September – Every Year
- Time: Early morning till Late
- Highlight: Kick off time 5pm
- Dresscode: Light clothing or Traditional Canarian outfit