Arrecife, the capital city of Lanzarote, has a very popular cultural relic the parade Los Buches. But to talk about them, we should first of all have a look to the past and see how the carnivals of Lanzarote were celebrated.
The data that we have about them and the oral transmission of our ancestors let us know a little more the Arrecife city of the 19th century.
The old carnivals of the island are farm from the current ones. The influence of other international carnivals have changed our traditional carnival. Today, batucadas, the colour, the samba and hit music invade the streets during the festivity. However, being every carnival unique and different, each one has something in common: it is time to permissiveness and, maybe, a little of debauchery.
History of the music group “Parade Los Buches”
According to the data, the clothing of Los Buches has hardly changed throughout the time. A mask made of cast net, a kerchief tied on their shoulders, a flower on the chest, a head scarf, coloured ribbons in the wool cloth cap, waistcoat, lace and embroidery trouser, garters, sstocking, leggings, white gloves and, of course, the big fish bladder. This clothing is an allegory to those peasants who in winter signed onto the big fishing ships to take advantage of the fishing season of the sea bass.
The parade Los Buches that today go down the streets at Carnival was founded in 1963. Its creation had the aim to recover a tradition that had disappeared for twenty years due to the prohibitions of the Franco regime. César Manrique, who was an enthusiastic of this group and who always tried to do not miss the traditions of the island, designed the mask that Los Buches wear today.
The songs of this group are similars to the song book that sailors sang. The water whistle, typical of Los Buches, the accordion and the lute accompany their songs that every year open the main carnival parade. If you do not want to recibe a “buchazo” (a hit with the bladder) do not get close to them. Although the risk to receive a hit worth it if you can listen these songs full of history…
“Desde que llega febrero, los marinos van llegando / y para los carnavales, los buches se van inflando…” [part of a popular song of this group. It says: “When February comes, the sailors are returning and for carnivals they blow up the fish bladders… ].