The Bathing of the GoatsAlthough the harbour beach was as packed as Playa Jardín had been the previous evening, its occupants weren’t making much of a noise. The only sound was coming from the protests of the creatures being dragged kicking and bleating across the pebbles to the water’s edge; that and the occasional low rumbling noise.

“What’s that?” Andy asked. I shrugged.
“It’s the goats,” Sue screwed up her nose. “It’s the sound of goats farting.”
Clearly they were very nervous about what was about to befall them.

The San Juan Fiestas don’t stop at the beach party. The following day all the goats from the La Orotava Valley are brought into town and unceremoniously ‘dipped’ in the harbour’s waters. Bleary eyed we made our way to the harbour to watch this strange pagan (Guanche)tradition.

Having been on the beach till the early hours we missed most of the ‘dippings’ and by the time we arrived at around 11.00 am, many of the caballeros (horsemen) and goatherds had retired to the nearest bars to indulge in a bit of business leaving their charges somewhat shell-shocked on the harbour beach’s pebbles.

Still we did get see a few of the hairy creatures get dragged into the sea for their annual swim; some goats being milked on the beach; a goatherd being butted by a large specimen with long twisted horns(ouch) and a couple of horsemen manoeuvre their steeds between brightly painted fishing boats.

It’s a fascinating spectacle and a nice, if slightly surreal, contrast to the more contemporary beach fiesta of Midsummer’s Eve.


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