This week Los Caneros de Tigaday de La Frontera on the island of El Hierro were declared Bien de Interes Cultural (BIC) or an Asset of Cultural Interest. This now guarantees for future generations this statement that represents the relationship of ancestors of El Hierro residents with nature. Narvay Quintero, spokesperson for the Executive of the Governing Council said “Los Caneros de Tigaday (the Rams of Tigaday) are representative figures of traditional carnival on the islands.”
Los Caneros or Carnival Rams are celebrated on Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival activities in Tigaday in the municipality of La Frontera. This involves young residents of the municipality running through the streets dressed in sheepskins of rams or sheep that mimic a grotesque herd of wild animals. Los Caneros run after anyone they see in the crowd, and local residents usually run away and show that they are terrified of these Carnival creatures.
Los Caneros ram into people, and push, grab, knock down and bump with their horns, but generally manage not to cause too much harm to anyone watching these events. It is traditional for people watching these frightening ‘rams’ to run away for safety, but it seems that some get captured too easily by these young rams and end up lying on the road unable to escape with a couple of rams on top! However, there is another factor for anyone who might be witnessing this Carnival event for the first time should know, and that the sheepskin costumes worn by these young residents are impregnated with a nauseating smell and are also stained with soot or bitumen that is also smothered over the bodies of these young rams. So, if you get caught, everyone will know!
Of course, you might think that these activities could put some people off visiting Tigaday in the municipality of La Frontera during Carnival, but it seems to have the opposite effect, and there is no shortage of crowds watching this unique traditional cultural event, and now a new asset of cultural interest in El Hierro.
Narvay Quintero says that this event could not be so successful without the support of the young residents of La Frontera who are part of the Tejeguate youth group, who throw themselves into this event with great enthusiasm, as well as all the people who come out to support these rams and pretend to be terrified, as well as some making sure they become victims. What a wonderful asset for El Hierro!
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