My daughter reminded me last night that today the 12th November it is the Fuga de San Diego, an annual tradition where students go to school but “escape” from their classes. Some children don’t even go into school on this day, others go and make their escape but after years of just accepting this was what happened today, I wanted to know where had the tradition of Fuga de San Diego come from?
The colegios in Lanzarote are securely gated during school hours, if a child does not attend school a phone call is made to the parents to make sure they are aware that they are not truant. If a child needs to leave school for any reason a parent / guardian has to go to the school to sign a form detailing the reason and what time they left the building. So why is it that the children can be released without the parent’s consent or supervision on Fuga de San Diego / Flight of San Diego?
This Canary Islands tradition started in Tenerife when a new teacher Diego Ximenez de Cisneros arrived at the Instituto Cabrera Pinto in La Laguna during November of 1919. He decided to stop the students from attending the Romería of San Diego del Monte, the children disobeyed him and escaped from the school.
Traditionally the students of La Laguna used to visit the hermitage of San Diego to count the number of botones (bellboys) around the statue. It was said the student who correctly guessed the number of bellboys would approve all their school subjects that year!
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