Tag Archives: excursiones en barco

Taifas dances: Canary Islands’ tradition

It’s one of our objectives in FuerteCharter to show the tourists who visit us the culture and traditions of our island, Fuerteventura, as apart from the wonderful boat trips we offer from Corralejo this island has many other things to be discovered.

And this time we’ll talk about the Taifas dances, which in ancient times were danced in the whole archipelago and that, at present, has remained as a tradition linked to the Canary Islands’ culture. For example, the big Taifas dances were celebrated on the night of the 29th May, the eve of the Canary Islands’ day, a date that commemorates the constitution of the first autonomic Canary Islands’ Parliament in 1983.

According to the “Academia Canaria de la Lengua”:
1. In some traditional dances celebrated in small venues, a series of couples who danced in turns and times, following the directions of a person in charge of complaying with the rules, such as the order of participation. After a “taifa” danced an “isa”, a “folia” and a “malagueña” it was the turn of another “taifa”.
2. Admission paid to take part in such dance.

Taifas dances weren’t a concrete dance, but a musical event that used to take place on special occasions to celebrate a birth (then they were called new mothers’ dances), when shucking and grinding corn (in order to make “gofio”) and also in special dates such as carnivals. They were, most of all, an act of social integration, mainly in an island such as Fuerteventura, where long distances often made it hard for people living in different towns to relate to one another.

Taifas dances were not held in large spaces but they used to be held in private houses where hardly 5 couples could dance in the hall, from where furniture had been previously removed. Generally, women were waiting on chairs in the hall, while men met outside the house, where the host offered “pizcos” (which today would be known as “shots”) to the attendees. They used to be parties where the attendees where looking for a partner, and men had to persuade the family of the woman they wanted to win.

The way to ask for a woman’s hand was to give the desired woman and her mother a little bag of cumin or any other spices, or a little candle. As they were courtship dances it wasn’t unusual of them to finish with any kind of quarrels, either caused by alcohol consumption or just fighting for a woman.

Sometimes, as read in the definition, a “taifa” was also charged as an admission to the participants, and if admission was free then the participants used to bring a gift for the host family, so the taifas dances were positive for the family economy.

In other islands, such as La Palma or Lanzarote, these musical events were known as oil lamp dances because they were lit up by oil lamps, and in Tenerife and El Hierro they were called string dances, as string instruments were played to accompany the dances. The instruments they used in these dances were the guitar, the “timple” and the “bandurria” (lute-type instrument), rarely the violin. And the music pieces that were danced were “isas”, “folías”, “seguidillas”, and “malagueñas”. Little by little a range of options opened and in the XIX century “polcas” and “mazurcas” were introduced. At the beginning of the XX century, “pasodobles”, fox-trot, “valses” and even “rumbas” were also danced, which is why the participant instruments were also changing.

Nowadays, in Fuerteventura we are ready for the XIV event of the Big Taifas Dance on the 29th May. From the 22nd April and up to the 16th May table bookings for this great event are open, one more year to be celebrated in Avenida Marítima in Puerto del Rosario.

To attend this event it’s necessary to wear the traditional Canary Island clothes, as a way to pay homage to the Islands’ ethnography and history.

FuerteCharter’s Team


The Marine in Morro Jable

The South of our dear Fuerteventura is strongly committed to water tourism. The extension of Morro Jable marina —municipality of Pájara—has already been given green light and it have will have 290 berths, which will mean an increase of water tourism and boat trips, thus bringing the passion for the sea, which many of us share, to more and more people.

It can’t be denied that we live in a place which enjoys unbeatable conditions for the practice of water sports, and the Government of the Canary Islands doesn’t remain on the fringes of this reality. The estimated investment in the works for the expansion of Morro Jable Marina is close to 8.5 million euros, aiming to promote water and sport tourism on our coastline, thus increasing the number of sport berths — allowing the mooring of up to 35 metre long sport boats— while boosting employment, as 12 new jobs will be created for the neighbours from Pájara.
The project, already submitted last week, has been called “Marina Jandia” and, after the award of Canarian Ports — whose aim is to supply social and economic profitability to the 36 ports in the island— it will be built and exploited for 25 years by a company from Lanzarote, Puerto Calero S.L., which will create a recreation site that will meet all the necessary requirements to turn the passion for the sea into an unforgettable experience.
Berths will increase and an area of commercial activity will be boosted, 2000 m2 out of the total 64.180 m2 being devoted to the setting up of 20 commercial premises. This way, not only the development of sport and tourist services will be allowed, but also this southern marina will be totally restored.
According to José Calero, Chief executive officer of Calero Marinas, one of the main aims of these works is to attract to the Canary Islands the 850 super yachts that cross the Atlantic to the North of Alegranza every year without stopping in the Islands. This is why we are working in projects like this one in The Canary Islands. Here in Morro Jable we have the best and cleanest beaches as well as the sun; we will also have now first class facilities”.
The project has looked for the cooperation by Cruz Roja, the fishermen’s cooperative Morro Jable and The Yacht Club Península de Jandia, in order to promote the smooth running of the marina; and every effort works in the same direction, as even the Town  Hall is working in this project in order to join the town centre of Morro Jable to the Marina, and thus increase the number of visitors to the new facilities.
The works are meant to start in 15 months, when the works in Arrecife Marina, which are being carried out by the same company Puerto Calero S.L., are supposed to be over.

With actions of this kind, Fuerteventura keeps growing towards a quality tourist future, with facilities that will allow us to make the best of our boat trips, so as to show our visitors the charms of this island from the sea.

 FuerteCharter’s Team