La Aldea de San Nicolás is aware of the importance and relevance of its great cultural heritage. This is highlighted through a brief overview of the main places of interest, featuring, among others, its architectural, ethnographic and ecclesiastic heritage, in the knowledge that it plays an important role in the region’s promotion and social integration.
The preservation and recuperation of the larger part of our tangible and intangible material heritage has the clear aim of further boosting development in our town, keeping alive the interest the locals have in their own culture.
It goes without saying that cultural heritage is one of the main reasons why travellers visit new places, learning about other ways of life, culture, artistic manifestations, etc.
La Aldea de San Nicolás has a Municipal Heritage and Intangible Material Commission, responsible for ensuring that the essence of our culture is kept alive. It is a type of culture that cannot be touched, it can only be felt through the experience it offers.
This type of intangible heritage includes folklore, the interaction between people, and above all our popular fiestas, one of which is the Festividad de El Charco, unique in the Canaries.
Patron Saint Fiestas
La Aldea de San Nicolás preserves an important ethnographic heritage which is manifested in its fiestas, typified in the majority of cases by traditions related to religious beliefs, as well as to agriculture and fishing.
The Fiestas in honour of our patron saint, San Nicolás de Tolentino, are the most important, and are comprised of three main events:
The Bajada de La Rama (on 9th September), San Nicolás Day (on 10th September) and the Fiesta or Day of El Charco (11th September), while other events are held throughout the year in different neighbourhoods and hamlets around La Aldea, mainly during the months of May, June, July and August.
The Fiestas of San Nicolás de Tolentino.
Advocation to San Nicolás de Tolentino, in the valley of La Aldea, has its roots in the hermitage mission established by a group of friars from Mallorca in the second half of the 14th century. It was part of a series of Evangelical missions established in the area of Las Palmas, in honour of Santa Catalina Mártir; in Arguineguín, dedicated to Santa Águeda and the latter in La Aldea, located in a cave on the sea shore. The town sprang up after the Conquista, originally as a village settlement which by the end of the 17th century had a consolidated population where they celebrated their patron saint fiesta in honour of San Nicolás, whose main event was on 10th September, which on the following day was linked to the civic act of El Charco, an event which throughout the 19th century and at the turn of the 20th century has been considered a “unique fiesta” on the island.
La Rama is held on the eve of San Nicolás, on 9th september, at 17:00. Since the 1940s its starting point has been Almacén de Los Picos and has ended at Barranquillo Hondo, in the square of the same name. In the first few decades of the 20th century, La Rama started out from the district of Los Llanos.
The occasion is enlivened fundamentally by a musical band, which leaves on foot from the Town Hall with a municipal procession and security services, and goes as far as Almacén de Los Picos, in search of the rama, or tree branch. Traditionally, the religious faithful accompanied by dancers walk in front of the band, carrying with them pine branches and sprigs which are collected from Pinar de Tamadaba, followed by the papahuevas, oversized papier-maché
Day of San Nicolás.
This day is held on 10th September and begins, after the midnight fireworks the night before, will the traditional bell-ringing.
The diana floreada rocket is set off to the accompaniment of the band at 06:30, followed by early Holy Mass at 07:00, where local San Nicolás bread rolls are blessed. Then at mid morning at 11:00 it is the turn for the religious procession, accompanied by different live bands from the municipality.
The day ends with the pilgrimage worship and offering to the Patron Saint at 18:00, the rope dancing at La Alameda followed by the popular “Aquí Pal Charco” (Off to El Charco) night party.
The Fiesta of El Charco is celebrated every year on 11th September on the beach at Playa de La Aldea, and is one of Gran Canaria’s most dearly-loved events, attracting thousands of visitors. It was known formerly as La Embarbascada, and like it is today, was held as part of the municipality’s general patron saint fiestas, in honour of San Nicolás de Tolentino.
Everything kicks off early in the morning with people coming down to the beach from the different neighbourhoods together with many visitors from out of town. They spend they day in happy revelry until 17.00 when they go along to a large coastal lake, (el charco) and wait for the mayor to set off a rocket which is a signal for the crowds to jump into the water fully clothed to splash around and catch fish; it is a deep-rooted event that celebrates age-old Canary customs.
If you would like to contact us, please use the contact details below.
- La Aldea Visitor Centre and Tourism Office
Calle Paseo El Muelle, 140. 35470 La Aldea de San Nicolás