Why not sell religion?

Horses are ridden to the sea in celebration of this festival

Horses are ridden to the sea in celebration of this festival

 

Why not sell religion?

Coming from another Roman Catholic such as Ireland I spent my first years in Adeje amazed at the easy manner in which religion and celebration, proper on-the-street, having fun, having a few drinks celebration, exist side by side.

In Ireland today there are parallels, with, for instance, the celebration of the country’s national saint, Saint Patrick, which is a huge international event – but in Spain they have the art of toasting saints and holy days down to a fine art. And really, here in Adeje, they could use it as a great selling point.  Just a few weeks ago we gathered along the main street in the heart of the town to greet the Magi, the Three Kings as they arrived on January 5th to the delight of the thousands gathered. The parade included a float dedicated to the holy family, as much a part of the festivities as any one else.  Back in the old country the religious side of Christmas is very much apart from Santa Claus and his reindeer – the two are celebrated but not quite at the same time.

Only two weeks ago of the borough’s most emblematic celebrations took place – the Fiesta de San Sebastian, in La Caleta.  Over 25 thousand people turned up to celebrate the day and watch the bringing of local animals, including 60 horses and riders, a camel, donkeys, goats, sheep and dogs, to the sea for a blessed bathe.   This is a marvellous spectacle, and one that has been unchanged really by the march of time.  And of course there were thousands of foreigners among the many who gathered. But maybe there could have been  more.

So here’s a challenge for Adeje and for us new Adejeros perhaps.  Use these religious festivities to attract even more people to the borough. Days like the celebration of San Sebastian, and the manner in which Adeje marks Good Friday (Easter is only two months away after all), are so unique, so special, they are events that maybe need even a more exposure abroad.

What do you think – should religion be used to sell a location or is it an abuse of something that is, in its essence, sacred?

We’re all Adejeros

Calle Grande in AdejeSo many of us are here for so many different reasons that it makes no sense whatsoever to generalise, however, and of course that however means I am about to generalise, one of the things that binds us together is that so many of us have chosen to live here, in Adeje. So while the ‘why’ might not be universal, the ‘where’ is.

I remember a few years ago writing a piece for a newspaper here about being Irish and living abroad. Not surprisingly it was for a St Patrick’s Day edition, and I wrote from the heart, about the fact that being Irish was about more, much more than the name on the front of your passport or the colour of the flag. And that is still true and I know so many of my friends here who come from other countries feel the same about their birth nation. But today, listening to a conversation with a socialist constitutionalist on Cadena Ser radio about the birthday of Prince Felipe tomorrow it struck me that these days my allegiances are not so much divided (that implies conflict) as running in parallel. I am an Adejero. I am very proud of where I live. I was born in Dublin but I decided to live here, in Adeje, in Spain.

In many ways the reasons why I decided to live here in the first place are irrelevant, it’s more to do with why I decided to stay and am still here. And of course it isn’t easy to qualify that kind of decision. It’s not the same as choosing one brand of car over another or the colour to paint the bathroom. Certainly in my case the decision to stay was made gradually, almost without me realising it, and now, with a child in local public school, with friends of all nationalities who have, for their own intangible reasons, made the same basic decisions as I have, I am at home here. I am, we are Adejeros. For better for worse, in sickness and in health.
So from that point of view and on behalf of many of us newbie Adejeros, happy birthday Prince Felipe, it’s nice to be part of the constituional monarchy that is Spain.