Even though we have recently had some bad forest fires on Gran Canaria recently, Bajada de la Rama (or ‘Bringing Down the Branches’) went ahead anyway – without the branches! The Mayor suggested using green hankies instead. This year’s festival was also a tribute to the loss of houses, plants and wildlife.
What happens in this Bajada de la Rama is that branches are snapped off the pine trees and carried from Tamadaba (the pine forest at over 3000 feet altitude) in the early morning. The procession goes through Agaete, accompanied by the Agaete Municipal Band, and on to Puerto de las Nieves. They arrive there at night time. Here, the pine branches are thrashed in the sea. This is an ancient Guanche ritual to ensure there will be adequate rain for next season’s crops. The action of thrashing the branches on the sea is like a prayer to the Gods for rain.
It is typical of the Canarians to want to take part in this festival as normal, although the forests here have been badly destroyed because of the forest fires. There is also loads of alcohol involved in Bajada de la Rama (that might also have something to do with it!!)
This festival happens on the first weekend in August and you can get bus number 103 if you want to take part or just watch the festivities. It’s always interesting to see something a bit different and this festival certainly is that!!