History of Teguise’s diablets

There are different theories about the origin of the Teguise’s diablets. One says that they reffer to the ritual dances of the ancient mahos. The ancient aborigens who lived in the island use to dance with different aims: competion, rituals, celebrations. During the harvest time, the mahos use to dance in order to thank for the products.

Symbol of survival

The Mahos considered the goat as a symbol of strength and virility, as symbol of survival for them because they got everything they needed from goats. On one side, milk and meat as food an on the other side the skins as clothing. Horns were used for differents aims, for the work in the field for istance. During some funeral rituals they sacrificed goats so that their skins accompanied their deceased. For this reason they probably  wear a goat to pay homage to their beliefs.

A tradition that survives

Even if very ancient, these cultural manifestations survived during the years and they are very similar to some celebrated in Africa of Portugal’s lands.

The origin of the dance of the diablets is totally pagan, but during the XV century, the arrival of the conquerors and its christian beliefs, made dancers to adquire religious customs.

The Corpus changed in a christian celebration in which the fight between good and evil is showed. The Franciscans took advantage of the figure of the diablets to represent the image of evil.

Teguise​’diablets

The General Council of Lanzarote, located in Teguise, began to organize the parties of the Corpus Christi. In the 16th century, many blacks and Moors arrived to Lanzarote to cover workforce needs. These have been  integrated into the Corpus festival, with the appearance of the black drummer. In the seventeenth century the dancers received the name of Teguise’s diablets. At the end of the 18th century the church prohibited the participation of Teguises’s diabletes at the party. From a Christian celebration they returned to the pagan festival: the carnival of Lanzarote.

Peculiar clothing

In the past, diablets carried goat skins and goats’ masks to symbolize their ancestral origin. Then, when they joined the carnival party, they discarded the skins, changing them for linen suits, and the goat’s mask was changed to one of ox.

Nowadays the diablets wear white pants and camisole, painted with rhombuses formed by black and red stripes with a red or black dot in the center. On top of the clothes they show leather straps with bells. The face is covered with a striking red mask or black made of wood and brass, with  two horns. To complete the look, Teguise’s diablets carry a stick with a bag, which serves to scare attendees and curious.

 

Carnival of Lanzarote

Teguise proudly shows its famous diablets. The best occasion is carnival, when adults and children enjoy remembering this ancestral traditions.  As Lastminute Transfer we recommend to discover the traditions of Lanzarote. We organize the best transfers and excursions to complete your visit of the island.