Luchia Canaria, otherwise known as Canarian Wrestling, is one of the most popular indigenous sports of the Canary Islands. Dating back to the 15th century, it draws huge audiences and is still a regular part of life in the Canaries.
The game involves two fighters who wrestle each other inside a circle of sand until the first man hits the ground and loses. People come from all over to watch the sport and the stadiums are a lively place full of shouting and cheering – the perfect place to let down your hair with a glass of Ron Miel (Canarian honey rum) on a weekend in the Canary Islands.
If you’re up for some rough and tumble fun on your holiday to the Canaries, there are plenty of places you can watch Luchia Canaria, but if you can plan your holiday at the same time as one of the Canary Island’s famous fiestas you’ll get even more excitement – Canarians really know how to throw a celebration.
Lanzarote is home to the colourful Fiesta de San Gines which takes place in August. You’ll get to see sailing, fireworks, the Miss Lanzarote competition, and of course, Canarian Wrestling. The event is held mostly in the El Charco area and celebrates the memory of Arrecife’s patron saint, San Gines.
If you’re heading to Tenerife, the fantastic in La Laguna is held in September and alongside the fireworks, parades and music of a standard festival, you’ll get to see a vintage car rally and several Canarian wrestling tournaments.
One of the best places to see Canarian wrestling is at Día de Canarias (Canary Islands’ Day) on May 30th. This extravagant party is the official holiday for all of the Canary Islands and takes place on every island – you’ll find wrestling, amongst other celebrations, around every corner.
The Fiesta de la Virgen del Rosario in Fuerteventura may be on the smaller side for a festival but its sportsmen certainly make up for it in brute force! As well as Canarian Wrestling, there’s traditional stick fighting, plough pulling and other agricultural strongman events to watch if you feel like some real fighting spirit.
If you can’t make it to the Canaries for one of the festivals though, you don’t have to miss out. Luchia Canaria is held in many stadiums across the Canary Islands and most towns and even villages hold regular matches. If you’re staying in some of the bigger cities like Arrecife in Lanzarote or Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, you might get the chance to see an official tournament with hundreds of other spectators – it’s an atmosphere not to be missed!
After you’ve marvelled at the beautiful sandy beaches, vibrant markets and natural beauty of the Canary Islands, get yourself down to a Luchia Canaria match to really add some excitement to your holiday.