The Canary Islands Shepherd’s Leap
This traditional custom, also practised by the early native inhabitants, was primarily used by shepherds to move across the difficult landscape of the archipelago. It consists of using a type of pole vault with a metal tip, varying in length from 1.5 to 4 meters depending on the terrain it was used on.
This tradition, which has now become a traditional sport, was revived in the 1980s by the brothers Ramón and Miguel García. There are anecdotes that tell of a shepherd from Mogán who went to San Mateo in search of medicines, travelling using a pole, and who made the journey in less time than men who did the same journey by horse.
Nowadays there is a group, La Jurria de Salto del Pastor “El Guirre”, whose members do this form of leaping, as well as stick fighting. This group arranged meetings for those who are involved in the sport since 1992.
This group along with a group from La Aldea de San Nicolas has done research into the construction of the various types of poles that exist on the islands. There has also been conducted research into the origin of fighting with sticks which is an old tradition. Since 1989 meetings have been arranged between those who practice this sport and this has contributed to being able to learn more about the sport from old shepherds who used this form of transport as part of their work. This means that the traditions can be maintained and passed on to future generations.
The old style of wrestling, where the opponents were weighed on a plank placed over a tree trunk in order to have a balanced fight, has been revived for the purposes of exhibitions.
According to one theory, Canary Island wrestling was a result of fighting among the different islands. It is also said that it may have come from the north of Africa with the first immigrants. Just as those who emigrated from the Islands to America took their traditions with them, it is highly likely that immigrants from Africa have influenced the culture here. Canarian wrestling, either with or without hold, has a great variety of techniques. The fight ends when one of the contestants touches the floor with any part of the body other than the soles of their feet.
There are two wrestling pits in the municipality of Mogán, one in Arguineguín and the other in Playa de Mogán, as well as a Canarian wrestling club, the Club de Lucha de Arguineguín.
Dominoes and card games: La Zanga and el Envite
La Zanga and el Envite are two card games with a long tradition in the southern and middle areas of the island of Gran Canaria.
When you walk through the town squares of Mogán, or in front of the bars, there are normally groups of elderly people playing these games.
Dominoes is also a popular pastime.
During fiestas, it is traditional to hold tournaments of zanga, evite and dominoes. The participants form teams which are gradually eliminated during the tournament until only the winning team is left.