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Adeje’s Patron Saints’ Holiday

29 Oct
Being the city center and capital of the county receiving the same name, Adeje is proud of its heritage and celebrates every year its ancestral traditions during the city’s local festivities on the occasion of the town’s patron saints: Saint Sebastian, Saint Ursula and Virgin Incarnation. The county’s Mayor, the Culture Councilor and the local parish priest presented the schedule for this year’s festivities last October 4th. This year the celebration lasted from the 6th until the 21st of October and the detailed outline for the different religious and secular activities to take place during those days was also announced.
I’ve only been living in this county for twelve months, and although I couldn’t attend to the rest of the galas this year, I was able to join the crowd of pilgrims for the closing event during the town’s festivities. Splendid, colorful and decorated carts together with traditional Canary groups of dancers and singers wearing classic Canary costumes flooded the town’s streets as they paraded through Adeje. Hundreds of people from the neighborhood and adjacent cities in the South of Tenerife’s Island traveled through the streets as well while they followed and walked next to the many carriages that the different city’s neighborhoods and associations rode.

What I enjoyed the most was the fact that the people riding each carriage would give out to pedestrians typical Canary food and drinks as they walked along and at the same time that singers and dancers livened up the passage. Glasses of wine, beer, sangria, and sodas; typical Canarian potatoes, “gofio” and hard-boiled eggs were some of the items on the menu. Grilled pork chops, chicken skewers, chickpeas, sardines and stew were also part of the list of options. Everything was cooked on the moving carriages and dished out for free when ready; it is the first time I participate in a celebration of the kind, and also the first time I am aware of one like it. The distribution of alcoholic bevera ges would be unthinkable in the U.S. and even worse if it is during midday hours.

Pilgrims also honored the patron saints with offerings of fruit, flowers and vegetables, which they placed at the saints’ feet once they finished the journey. The ambience was pretty warm and emotional, and people’s happiness could be felt as they sang along and enjoyed the Canarian live music. Adeje’s traditions have found their way into people’s culture and allow citizens to bond together while they live those customs in their own way. This is precisely what makes the town and its people special, because their ethnic foods, decorations, music and special activities help them become distinctive.

The entire celebration flowed smoothly as no incidents took place. The local police and a Civil Protection team looked after the multitude, which along with the neatness of the event demonstrated the great organization behind it. It is amazing how the traditions of this town are kept and passed on through generations by means of that symbolic communication that goes past what words can express. It’s wonderful to see how the entire family, from the smaller ones in the house to the elderly participates actively in the festivities, thereby creating a bridge between family members, their present and their past.

I was glad to participate in this event, and I enjoyed not only the music and food but also the carriages. I couldn’t stay until the end of the celebration, but I’ll make sure to attend again next year. Adeje’s festivities are observed year in and year, and regardless of what else may happen, the town’s traditions will not change. Their importance surpasses the economic, cultural and religious lines, and there comes a point at which it doesn’t matter what the tradition is or how it came about, but only that it is practiced. Adeje’s traditions grant great value to their culture, and it is a kind of value that lasts far beyond the moment because it comes from the stability, continuity and identity that it provides for those who participate in such traditions while they make this town unique, link generations, and offer something for every person to hold on to and to rely upon.

“Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening”

Images by: Lito Brau & Coraline

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2007 in días como hoy

 

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