La Transhumancia

Last April 2017, we were able to live and share with friends a unique experience, “Transhumance in Gran Canaria”.

The Trashumancia

Grazing is one of the oldest occupations that humans have practiced. Since before the invention of agriculture, our ancestors domesticated various species of animals, especially ruminants, and developed pastoral techniques, through which man he couples the movements of his cattle to the rhythms productive of nature.

At very different points of the land, grazing is the occupation most closely linked to the roots cultures of the people from the reindeer herders of the Eurasian north, to the Tuareg camel drivers and sheep herders; from the Maasai cowherds of the plains of Central Africa, to the gaucho cowboys or American plains. Pastoral culture is almost universal, as a historical reference of the techniques that human beings have used to survive in the most diverse conditions.

On our islands we have a very rich pastoral culture and interesting, which is at the very root of the Canarian people. The island aborigines were, above all, a people of goat herders who were moving their residence from coast to summit, searching at every time of the year for the better pastures for their flocks. With the conquest, the pastoral culture of the islands was integrating elements from other places in the world, and on the traditional grazing scheme they were intertwined techniques from other places, giving as resulted in very complex pastoral strategies and specialized.

This nomadic culture is reinforced by the fact that the main product of livestock is the cheese, and since it is difficult and delicate to transfer the milk, and since the cheese is made always around the home, the cheesemaking family always prefers to live near their livestock. Naturally it is very hard to live adapting to the vicissitudes of the herd, so it is not It is surprising that transhumant shepherds form a group with very intense ties of social connection. It is worth highlighting the survival of the customs of mutual aid, of of which the most notorious is the shearing or pelá. At the beginning of summer the wool must be sheared. the sheep and this involves arduous work, so each shepherd summons all his colleagues to help him one day with that task, which evidently culminates with a celebration in style, to thank you for the help provided. Another day he will be the one who comes to help peel another companion and so, for a couple of months the shearing marks the calendar of work and celebration of the shepherds. It is not strange that relationships arise from these meetings among the youngest, so shepherd families are closely linked by ties of relationship and the surnames Mayor, Mendoza, Jiménez, Gil, Moreno, etc., are repeated over and over once among our nomadic people.