August is always a busy month on Lanzarote. Not only is it the height of the traditional summer holiday for both locals and holidaymakers from Europe, but it is also the month when numerous different fiestas celebrate various aspects of Canarian life.
At the beginning of the month, the annual festivities giving thanks to the patron saint of fishermen, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, reach their conclusion. Due to the island´s long standing dependence on the fishing industry, there are celebrations in honour of Carmen all over the island, from La Graciosa to Playa Blanca by way of Puerto del Carmen. Each fishing village or town takes the statue dedicated to Our Lady out onto the sea amongst a flotilla of vessels to bless the waters for the coming year.
Once the effigy of Carmen is back on the altar of local churches, the action all focuses on the capital of Arrecife, where the patron saint of San Gines de Clermont is commemorated. This saint has given his name to the Baroque style church located in the city, in the oldest part of the urban centre. The church was constructed on the site of a hermitage that dated back to 1574 but was then flooded, with the church building erected in 1667.
The fiesta to celebrate San Gines takes place between 14th and 25th August this year, beginning just before Assumption and ending with a firework display on the 25th. Most of the festivities take place in and around the Charco or the Parque Islas Canarias and include sports activities, such as handball and beach football tournaments or live music, with a concert on Friday 22nd August at 21.30 at the Recinto Ferial. Amongst those appearing are Angel Lopez, winner of the Latin Grammy award and member of Son By Four.
Running concurrently with the fiesta of San Gines is the fiesta of Caleta Famara, held on the north-west coast and attracting up to 20,000 locals over the course of 22nd to 31st August. This fiesta commemorates the Sacred Heart of Maria and feature live music, competitions and sports tournaments.
And no sooner do the August fiestas come to an end but the whole island begins to gear up for the fiesta of Dolores (September 15th), which celebrates the miracle of the girl who halted the flow of lava before it reached the town of Mancha Blanca, close to the borders of the Timanfaya National Park. Locals from all over Lanzarote will walk to Mancha Blanca on a pilgrimage to commemorate this particular local legend.