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www.hellocanaryislands.com
Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro


Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
Carnival time on El Hierro
One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
A journey through La Palma’s plant world
Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro
Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
Relax by the sea in El Tamaduste
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Swimming And Snorkelling At El Puertillo in North Gran Canaria
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
Betancuria, the ancient capital in the mountains of Fuerteventura
How to Enjoy an Easy Adventure from Puerto del Carmen to Puerto Calero
A walk across Llano de Las Cuevas in La Palma
How to Enjoy a Superb Luxury Sailing Trip in Tenerife
From Jungle To Desert at Maspalomas In South Gran Canaria
The sweetness of La Gomera and the Canary Islands – Palm Syrup
Cycling on El Hierro is a great way to see the Island
Isla de Lobos, a natural Paradise
Volcanoes, wine and British history in Lanzarote
The mini-Volcano Route, La Palma
How To Try And Do Tenerife From Top To Bottom In Three Days
Playa Santiago – A glorious mesh of sleepy fishing village and luxury hotel complex
A Day at the Canaribbean In Gran Canaria
Hermigua, the beautiful tropical valley of La Gomera with a Gofio Museum
How to Enjoy Authentic Lanzarote at the Lovely El Charco de San Ginés
La Gomera’s longest beach in the Valley of the great king – Valle Gran Rey
The Charm of Vallehermoso – The Beautiful Valley in La Gomera
How to Discover La Gomera With an Amazing Jeep Safari Adventure
Calle Cano: A Las Palmas Street Where Old And New Blend Together
Three places off the usual tourist track in Tenerife
La Gomera one of the most gorgeous island for hikers, ramblers and casual afternoon walkers
Poema del mar, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
An ascent of Bejenado
Four best places to visit in Fuerteventura
Up The Monte: Exploring Gran Canaria's Wine Country
5 Excellent Experiences to Try When You Visit Tenerife
Exploring the Barranco de las Angustias
4 best places to visit in La Gomera, by a Canary Island resident
A lovely walk from Mirador de Jinama to The bell tower Joapira
Walk the beautiful arid landscapes of Fuerteventura – Betancuria
In Gran Canaria And Sick of Sand? Head To The Parque Sur For A Siesta
Keep cool with a craft beer tour in Lanzarote
A walk from Arenas Blancas to Verodal (Local walk reference SL-EH2)
Tijarafe: touring La Palma's sunny northwest
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Previous article
30 Apr 2018

Like all the Islands El Hierro celebrates Carnival time with three distinct weekends of Carnival in each of three municipalities. The first one is always in the district of La Frontera. What is different about Fronterais the event that takes place on the Sunday and Tuesday evening.

This is when Los Carneros take to the streets of Tigaday to wreak havoc for a few hours. Two statues stand on the main street to remind everyone of this event.

Statue of Los Carneros, El Hierro, Canary Islands

I’m told that the characters are loosely based on a mythological Roman God Faun. Research of this character tells me that he had the legs of a goat and a human torso. Not quite what Los Carnerosare?

The Carneros,or Rams, are all male and the competition to be one can be quite competitive. They all meet at a secret location (a shed in reality) in Tigadayto prepare themselves for the event. Here some of them dress themselves in sheep’s fleeces. They adorn the bare parts of their bodies, legs and arms in black boot polish. Wrap more bits of fleece around their wrists and ankles. Adorn their heads with helmets of fleece with ram’s horns or even the whole scull on top.

Picture of a Carnero, El Hierro, Canary Islands

Around their waist they tie numerous cow bells. Each Carnero has a shepherd who dresses in hessian sacking and a grotesque face mask. Again they black their legs and arms with boot polish and wear strips of fleece around their wrists and ankles.

Then there is “El Loco” dressed similar to the shepherds but with bright orange hair and grotesque face mask. The job of “El Loco” (The mad one) is to make bloody curdling screeching noise and drag chains and a machete on the ground. 

Picture of “El Loco”, El Hierro, Canary Islands

Just after 5pm the excitement starts to build. Many youngsters and anyone that’s slightly daft make their way up the main street heading towards the post office. All of a sudden there were squeals of delight and shouts of “they are on their way” and everyone ran past me towards the middle of town. It was a false alarm and everyone retraced their steps.

Then there was the distinct sound of cow bells ringing and I got my first glimpse of Los Carneros appearing over the brow of the hill. They were all strolling leisurely as a group towards the waiting crowd.

Picture of Los Carneros walking in Tigaday, El Hierro, Canary Islands

Suddenly they were off and split up, the so called shepherds keeping their rams on a tight lead, well for a few seconds anyway!

Picture of Shepherd and Ram “Los Carneros”, El Hierro, Canary Islands

The crowd ran for their lives, some up alley ways others into local bars a group of young girls made for the local supermarket and found the doors closed. Then realised they were trapped. Los Carneros had their first victims. They took great delight in smearing the girl’s faces with boot polish. The ones that struggled and screamed the most got the most attention. 

Then down into the centre of town were the road widens and most of the crowd were waiting to watch the spectacle. Los Carneros divided and conquered and it wasn’t long before most of the crowd were smeared in black polish. 

A young boy was carried past me by his father. He had a little polish on his face but was crying hysterically and appeared terrified of the weird creatures running around him. The pack gave chase and a young lad lost his shirt in his desperate struggle to escape from the clutches of them. One young man was carried kicking and screaming slung over the shoulder of one of them. The crowd were cheering for him to be smeared in even more polish. They weren’t disappointed.

As I looked round I was confronted by one of the rams.

Close up of a Carnero with rams head, El Hierro, Canary Islands

He obviously had no polish as I escaped being daubed. Around me no one else seemed safe, the camera operator for the local TV station had her face completely covered. The local newspaper reporter received the same treatment. Other local photographers had their bald heads smeared but their cameras were left untouched. Some tourists not realising the risks decided to take photographs of the men and received the same treatment, much to the delight of the local crowds.

The cow bells were ringing, the crowd laughing and cheering, screams from those being chased all made for an electric atmosphere. The Rams had split up and could be found all around Tigaday.

One of the Carneros with his cow bells & Roques de Salmor, El Hierro, Canary Islands

Back in town I found the young lad that had been crying before, surrounded by a group of about four of the Los Carneros. He was feeling braver and allowed “El Loco” to carry him. They ran a few hundred yards with him. Then he realised he’d made a huge mistake as he was gently laid on the ground underneath the scrum of bodies. He was smeared in more boot polish and had to agree to a high five before they would let him stand up and run back to his dad. He did not know whether he should be laughing or crying.

One advantage Los Carneros have over the crowd is that the rams and shepherds can see who you are. All I could see were a pair of dark laughing eyes staring at me.

As I enjoyed more of the fun and mayhem all around me I saw one of the so called shepherds wrestle a teenager down onto the floor. He smeared his face with a little polish. The lad swore at him and didn’t appear to be too pleased so another shepherd appeared with an open jar of polish. The lad was held down even stronger and more polish smeared over his head and face. He opened his mouth to swear at the shepherd again and ended up with a mouth full of polish. At this all three of them fell about laughing and the teenager ran off looking for a cloth to wipe his mouth out with.

Lad laid on floor with shepherd on him covering him with polish, El Hierro, Canary Islands

Just as suddenly as the noise started it all goes quiet. Los Carneros have gone. I ventured out and had my picture taken next to one of the statues to prove to a young girl that it was safe and that it wouldn’t daub her with polish. She then asked me to pull faces for her as though I was scared.  I was only too happy to oblige.

As I looked around me anyone just happening upon the scene would be wondering what on earth had happened. Just about everyone, from the very young to the very old had boot polish on their faces and clothes. There were young lads running round in shredded clothing and smeared all over their bare skin with boot polish. Young girls, phones in hand, taking selfies to send to friends. Everyone was happy. 

Then when you thought it was safe to venture out Los Carneros ventured out again for one last mad dash of mayhem and chaos.

It’s a unique experience and I can say that no animal was harmed or injured during the event!

 “I’m not frightened really”, El Hierro, Canary Islands

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Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
Carnival time on El Hierro
One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
A journey through La Palma’s plant world
Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro
Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
Relax by the sea in El Tamaduste
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Swimming And Snorkelling At El Puertillo in North Gran Canaria
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
Betancuria, the ancient capital in the mountains of Fuerteventura
How to Enjoy an Easy Adventure from Puerto del Carmen to Puerto Calero
A walk across Llano de Las Cuevas in La Palma
How to Enjoy a Superb Luxury Sailing Trip in Tenerife
From Jungle To Desert at Maspalomas In South Gran Canaria
The sweetness of La Gomera and the Canary Islands – Palm Syrup
Cycling on El Hierro is a great way to see the Island
Isla de Lobos, a natural Paradise
Volcanoes, wine and British history in Lanzarote
The mini-Volcano Route, La Palma
How To Try And Do Tenerife From Top To Bottom In Three Days
Playa Santiago – A glorious mesh of sleepy fishing village and luxury hotel complex
A Day at the Canaribbean In Gran Canaria
Hermigua, the beautiful tropical valley of La Gomera with a Gofio Museum
How to Enjoy Authentic Lanzarote at the Lovely El Charco de San Ginés
La Gomera’s longest beach in the Valley of the great king – Valle Gran Rey
The Charm of Vallehermoso – The Beautiful Valley in La Gomera
How to Discover La Gomera With an Amazing Jeep Safari Adventure
Calle Cano: A Las Palmas Street Where Old And New Blend Together
Three places off the usual tourist track in Tenerife
La Gomera one of the most gorgeous island for hikers, ramblers and casual afternoon walkers
Poema del mar, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
An ascent of Bejenado
Four best places to visit in Fuerteventura
Up The Monte: Exploring Gran Canaria's Wine Country
5 Excellent Experiences to Try When You Visit Tenerife
Exploring the Barranco de las Angustias
4 best places to visit in La Gomera, by a Canary Island resident
A lovely walk from Mirador de Jinama to The bell tower Joapira
Walk the beautiful arid landscapes of Fuerteventura – Betancuria
In Gran Canaria And Sick of Sand? Head To The Parque Sur For A Siesta
Keep cool with a craft beer tour in Lanzarote
A walk from Arenas Blancas to Verodal (Local walk reference SL-EH2)
Tijarafe: touring La Palma's sunny northwest
www.hellocanaryislands.com