Thursday, 3 May 2007

Village day

On the last day of our holiday (Sunday) we cycled up to the village of Ayagaures. It was a very long as steep road climb and as it was the end of the week we were pretty tired when we got there. The village is next to a large dam. Water is a problem in Gran Canaria as in the South it is very hot and dry and in the mountains it is wet. Consequently the countryside is covered with various contraptions from old plastic pipes hung up with string to sophisticated dams and aqueducts designed to bring the water from the North to the South. When we got to the village they were preparing for some sort of celebration. A big barbecue was being started and people were sitting in the small village square or in the church. We stopped a while and then headed up the valley a mile or so, where we found a quiet spot to have lunch. After a sit down we decided that we were a bit too tired to do too much hard riding and so headed back to do a nice gentle downhill back to the hotel. On the way back to the village we heard fireworks going off and as we got to the dam a procession was starting up. The village people were on the dam wall and began walking back towards the square accompanied by musicians and singers, clapping out a steady beat. The procession came towards us and at the centre the priest lead four of the strongest village men carrying a statue of Jesus. They passed us and we followed behind them to the village square where they continued with their festival and we carried on back down the hill! I asked later in the hotel what the event was and the hotel staff said it was the local 'village day'. All the villages have them this time of the year one after the other. I suppose it may be a bit like our May fairs except the Canaria version are quite serious religious occasions. I mentioned it to Petra when she took us to the airport the following morning and she told us that the people in Gran Canaria are quite deeply religious people. They all attend church regularly, even the younger people, and they practice their religion sincerely.

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