Adeje’s heritage councillor, Juan Desiderio Afonso Ruiz has written a history of the Adeje cemetery, which throws up some interesting facts, cultural and cross cultural.
Prior to the early 1800s there was no cemetery here but in 1813 burials within a town were forbidden, so an area needed to be allocated for this purpose alone. There was wrangling among local nobility and the church over who should pay for such an area, and the cemetery took until the 1830s to be completed and received an official blessing in June 1837.
The councillor, during his research, has come across a document from 1876 in which the parish of Adeje asks permission for a plot of land to be set aside for “non-catholic burials”. The request was denied by the powers that be at the time, as, they said, in a town as small as Adeje, with a population that was almost completely Catholic, the presence of non-Catholics was too insignificant to merit such a decision. Interestingly enough, those non-catholic plots that did exist in Tenerife were known as ‘Cherchas’ from the English word church.
Another possible link to parallel cultures comes from the relating of the customs among Canarians, The Dia de Finados, or Day of the Dead, falls at this time of year too, and it was not uncommon for adults to get together to serenade the dead in song, often singing a favourite tune of a deceased family member, meanwhile the children would go from house to house looking for seasonal fruits like chestnuts, almonds and sultanas and raisins. Treats indeed!
For another year the Adeje council through the department of the environment, are organising a ‘Nights without Lights for the Cory’s Shearwater’, promoted by the Tenerife.
The nights in question are November 2nd and 3rd, from 10pm to 1am, as these are the days where a large number of young birds are taking their first flight over the sea. The Cory’s Shearwater has actually been declared Bird of the Year 2013 by SEO/Bird Life, and is a bird that lives on the high seas only returning to dry land to breed. They build their nests in caves or cliff niches, with the chicks taking their first tentative flights at night at this time of year, particularly when there is a new moon. The reason we are being asked to reduce or eliminate night lights is that the young birds are easily disoriented and can fly off their path and crash.
This Nights without Lights is, according to councillor Esther Rivero Vargas, “a preservation and conservation campaign for this species which is resident in our borough, and we would ask for the co-operation of as many people as possible in reducing the intensity of the lights in the zones where these birds live and nest and fly, fundamentally in the parts of Adeje close to the cliffs and coasts, although a small number of the birds may also make their way in-land.”
The councillor says they have also prepared an information pack for hotels in the area asking for their co-operation, and are sure that the positive response will be as good as in previous years.
There is a protocol to follow if you find one of these young Cory’s Shearwaters lost or injured – call the Policía Local it its night time or the Protección Civil de Adeje if its daytime.. Alternatively you can contact the Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre, ‘La Tahonilla’, (922 445 777) which is Cabildo operated, and they have the personnel to treat any injured bird and release it back into wild when appropriate.
According to last year’s statistics, the Policía Local recovered 115 Cory’s Shearwaters in 2012, 221 in 2011 and 204 the year before that. While there is no mention of whether the campaign last year led to the reduction in the number of injured young birds, it would indicate that the campaign definitely has some affect.
Despite the commercial hype that now surrounds the festival of Halloween, the origins of the celebration of October 31st are, most scholars and historians agree, to be found in the Celtic and Druidic pasts.
‘Samhain’ was a Gaelic festival marking the end of the summer and the beginning of the darker half of the year, the winter, and was celebrated from sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st. Like many of today’s Christian festivals, Easter for instance, the establishment and fixing of dates is often traced back to the decision of religious powers to adapt some ‘pagan’ and populist celebrations and incorporate them into the religious calendars. All Saints or All Hallows day is celebrated on November 1st – here in Spain, Dia de los Santos, is an important date – so October 31st also became known as All Hallows Eve, Hallows ‘Even, and influenced by Samhain the two were, over time, morphed into what is know today as Halloween.
Samhain is mentioned in some of the very earliest Irish literature, and was one of the four hugely important seasonal festivals along with ‘Imbolc’, ‘Beltane’ and ‘Lughnasadh’, also observed in Scotland and the Isle of Man with similar festivals in other Celtic hubs, in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Samhain was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. Samhain was also seen as a time when the door to the “Otherworld” opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings, to come into our world. These could be friends of foes, and while many set a place at their table for family members who had passed over, others took precautions against harmful spirits. The latter is generally thought to have inspired the custom of dressing up, ‘guising’ on the night of October 31st, to confuse or scare off a wandering evil spirit. Fairies were said to be able to steal humans on Samhain, and fairy mounds were out of bounds on that night. If people had to walk at night they would perhaps turn their clothes inside out or carry iron or salt to keep the bad fairies at bay.
Guising, or dis-guising is also the origin of today’s more Americanised ‘trick-or-treat’. In earlier centuries on October 31st children in Ireland and Scotland would go from door to door disguised and perform a simple task, sing a song or recite a poem in exchange for a treat – then perhaps fruit, nuts, today it’s more likely to be sweets, but the notion of playing a trick on someone who didn’t hand over anything wasn’t really common until much later.
Turnip lanterns, the precursor of the pumpkin jack-o-lantern so common today, with faces carved into them, were common at Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. The purpose of these lanterns may have been threefold. They may have been used to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night; to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings; and/or to protect oneself and one’s home from them. Some have suggested that there were often set on windowsills to keep the spirits out of one’s home. However, others suggest that they originated with All Saints/All Souls and that they represented Christian souls in purgatory. It is generally believed that, as with many traditions that crossed during periods of mass immigration from Ireland and Great Britain to the Americas in the 19th and early 20th century, the traditional carved turnip was replaced by the pumpkin as they were more plentiful and easier to carve.
There are some traditional foods that are still served in Irish households on Halloween night. Barmbrack is a fruit cake with various objects baked into it, each with a different meaning for the person who is lucky or unlucky enough to receive that particular slice. A dried pea means you won’t marry this year, a stick means your marriage will be unhappy – your spouse will beat you, a piece of cloth mean bad luck or poverty, a small coin signifies good fortune and wealth and a ring means you will wed within the year.
Colcannon was another Irish favourite, made from mashed potatoes and kale (or cabbage), and could contain other ingredients such as scallions or spring onions, leeks, onions and chives. This would often be eaten with boiled ham.
Carmel apples, or toffee apples, apples covered in a hard toffee coating and placed on a stick, are another treat though these days are not specifically associated with Halloween.
Obviously nowadays there is a whole industry surrounding the commerical version of Halloween which produces sweets of all shapes, sizes and colours, even down to pre-pacakged Halloween sweet boxes in large supermarkets, including here in Spain.
Over 150 residents of Callao Salvaje turned up to listen to Adeje Mayor Jose Miguel Rodriguez Fraga outline the thinking behind the council’s new Pets and Recycling campaign last week.
Environment councillor Esther Rivero, the local councillor for the zone Amada Trujillo and Francisco Valiño from the company Ascan Torrabonaf shared the top table with the mayor and were on hand to answer questions.
The new campaign is multi-lingual in essence, the literature has been translated into English, French and German and during the meeting, the first in 14 planned events throughout the borough, the mayor’s intervention was translated into English simultaneously as were other parts of the evening.
The mayor told the packed cultural centre that the meetings “were being held to bring the local administration to the residents who live here, to share with them directly some ideas regarding a more harmonious life together. In Callao Salvaje wer are setting out a plan of action to consolidate and extend a set of behavioural norms regarding treatment of our environment and pets, but within the wider framework of co-existence. We are building a framework that matches our multicultural community. Via that we can develop a way of enriching our daily personal and communal lives”, he said.
The mayor also said that these meetings were not simply about bringing a message to the communities, but also opening a dialogue whereby “we can share and constructively build by solving local difficulties that we all share in the Adeje of the 21st Century. What we want is that Callao Salvaje is very much a part of the new Adeje, the tourist destination that is Adeje, the historic Adeje that is home to a university campus, to innovation, the Adeje of harmonious co-existence, the Adeje that cares for its environment”.
As the meeting was going on inside, outside the children of the zone were busy taking part in a recycling workshop`organised by Adeje Inserta under the Cruz Roja. They were also meeting with Mike, the campaign´s mascot, and later children and adults alike were delighted and astonished at the obedience class demonstrated by trainers and owners from Tcan Terapie y Encuentro Canino.
The next meeting is at the Playa Paraiso Sports Pavilion this Wednesday October 30th at 6pm. And accordng to Esther Rivero, environmental councillor, “the intention is to reach all the different neighbourhoods in the borough”. As well as the meetings the campaign will be diffused through posters, booklets, school projects, and pet fairs. There is also a team of volunteers who will be going door to door outlining the campaign to residents.
Are you ready for the Tri Tenerife Sur Half Endurance Triathlon, which takes place in Adeje, Arona, Guía de Isora and Vilaflor on November 30th?
This will be a medium strength triathlon with a circuit of 90 kilometres including an urban and a foot race of 21 miles and a swimming test nearly two miles offshore.
The organisers are also able to help with hotel accommodation and more – check out the webpage, http://www.tritenerifesur.org/index.php/es/.
October 19th was World Breast Cancer day, but here in South Tenerife we have the chance to remind people later this year to continue supporting people fighting this disease and funding those working on research for a cure. The frightening fact is that even today every thirty seconds someone somewhere is diagnosed with breast cancer (World Health Org).
The Walk for Life talks place on December 15th and as in previous years will link Arona and Adeje. Adeje’s health councillor Rafael Dolado García said “last year there were an enormous turnout with over 2,300 taking part in the ‘pink wave’, and this year we would love to see even more people walking”. This year the walk will start at the Magma Centre in Adeje at about 11am, under the banner To Walk is to Support.
There’s a new dimension to the campaign too this year – you can help choose the 2013 t-shirt design. Go to the Adeje council webpage, www.adeje.es and to the health section, or directly to the Walk for Life page, www.carreraporlavida.com and follow the directions to the voting page, and select your favourite design from a choice of three.
Yesterday the Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga joined the president of the Canarian Buddhist centre Ghel Pel Ling Gloría Cabello in announcing details of this week’s events under the title “Real internal happiness”. The open days are being directed by Thamthog Rinpoche, one of the most eminent Tibetan Buddhists today, and one of the Dalai Lama’s closest advisors. Also involved in the event is Khenrab Rinpoche, the spiritual advisor at the Ghel Pel Ling centre, which is based in Costa Adeje.
During the press conference to announce details of the event mayor Rodríguez Fraga said that “Adeje continues to work positively towards the integration and harmonious coexistence of all cultures and creeds, as Adeje is a plural, open and tolerant society”. He welcomed Thamthog Rinpoche to Adeje and reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that Adeje continued to be a place where religious tolerance was paramount, a place where bridge-building could flourish.
Thamthog Rinpoche spoke of the role Buddhism can play in today’s world, adding that it was not a religion that only sought converts, as one of the basic tenets of Buddhism is respect for all religions and cultures. “People must respect tolerance if they wish to find peace”. He said there was so much suffering in the world today, “countless problems, difficulties, which block the path to inner peace”, but it was up to people to leave ignorance behind. Thamthog Rinpoche, added that change was “100 per cent possible”, but people have to want to change, to find the right path to peace, via hope and tolerance.
The first conference is today, Wednesday 23rd, in the Adeje school of Music and Dance, and is free to attend. It starts at 6.30pm. There are follow up events on Thursday and Friday, at the same time, in the school.
Thamthog Rinpoche was born in eastern Tibet in 1951. When he was six years old he was recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the tutor of His Holiness Kyabje Trijyan Rinpoche as the reincarnation of XII Thamthog, founder of the three largest monastic universities of Lithang. He studied at Sera Je Monastery in Tibet, and after 1959 continued his studies at Sera Je Monastic University in South India. In 1982 he was awarded the highest title of Buddhist studies “Geshe Lharampa.” Later he entered the monastery of Tantric Ghiumè to deepen the study of the Tantra. Rinpoche received the complete transmission of the common and secret teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 1987, at the invitation of his teacher, he moved to Italy as a resident Lama and spiritual leader of Ghe Pel Ling, until August 2009, when he was appointed abbot of Namgyal Monastery by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Adeje council in partnership with the town’s contracted cleaning company Ascan Torrabonaf, has launched the ‘Adeje, clean and healthy’ campaign, with the primary objective being an increase in awareness among the resident population of the benefits of recycling, the importance of keeping our neighbourhoods clean and the duties and responsibilities of pet ownership. With that in mind the councillor for the environment with responsibility for the campaign, Esther Rivero Vargas, announced that “this initiative is far reaching and will take many different forms, from information meetings in the different Adeje neighbourhoods, posters, school campaigns, talks within the local health programme, trade fairs, meetings with locally-based vets, those organisations working with animals etc.
“Today, Monday, we have started the campaign with posters and street signs, and this Thursday we will host our first neighbourhood meeting which will be held in the Callao Salvaje Cultural Centre, from 6pm. These meetings have been designed around a short talk, workshops for younger residents organised by the Cruz Roja, distribution of campaign literature (in Spanish, English and French) and a dog agility exhibition.”
Councillor Rivero Vargas extended her gratidude to the many different organisations who have and are contributing to the campaign, both at the meetings and in the information that has been prepared for distribution. “The veterinary professionals in Adeje have supervised and assisted in the content that is published in the leaflets and booklets, and they will also be attending the meetings where they can outline to those present the duties and responsiblities that a pet owner undertakes.
“At the same time I would like to extend our gratitude to the dog divisions of bodies taking part such as the Guardia Civil, Protección Civil de La Laguna, the Granadilla firefighters, Terapia y Encuentro Canino (TCAN), the Cazadores de Adeje association, South Tenerife Agility Ring (STAR) and the ONCE who will be hosting dog displays and exhibitions at the different neighbourhood meetings.
The councillor added that the part of the meeting that would be dedicated to recycling and cleanliness in Adeje would be dealt with by the technical head of the Adeje environment department and the head of services for Ascan Torrabonaf, Francisco Valiño, who would also be able to answer questions and offer additional relevant information about the issues.
One of the key parts of the campaign will be the work undertaken by four people who have been contracted to go door to door to impart the campaign’s information to residents. These four individuals have been contracted from the unemployment register and trained to carry out these particular duties. The councillor explained that “the selection was made form the unemployment group via the Adeje local development department.
“Furthermore we have been able to call upon a group of volunteers who have helped us in organising the meetings, as well as in translating the literature into English and French, in organising the dog exhibitions, etc.
Schools will be another important pillar of the campaign, where awareness workshops are being hosted in partnership with the environmental section of the Red Cross. A book with acitivities for children will also be distributed among up to 3,000 students in public schools in the borough. The local council’s area group of persons with disabilities is also helping in the preparation of merchandising for the campaign.
The campaign was initially presented to the press last July by the mayor of Adeje, and will run for approximately two years. Mayor Rodríguez Fraga has underlined that the active participation of all departments in the council is the key to a sucessful campaign and getting the message to all parts of the borough.
Adeje said Adios to the locals Fiestas yesterday with a colourful Romería enjoyed by thousands who lined the main street to see the floats and agricultural carriages pass by with hundreds of Adejeros and visiting participants in traditional dress.
Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga said it was a “splendid event with high levels of participation and a lot of foreign visitors and tourists which we value greatly as we welcome their participation”. He added, “this is a delightful fiesta and a day which is full of giving by the Adeje community, displaying Canarian hospitality at its best, sharing the produce of the land with everyone”.
The mayor of the Galician town of Riveira, which is twinned with Adeje, who was an invited guest to the event, said he was very pleased to be here taking part in a festival that was emblematic of the culture and traditions of the area, and was proud to take part in traditional Canarian attire.
The traditional parade of agricultural floats attended by different local groups, who offered passers by samples of local food and drink ended at the Santa Ursula church where there were musical and dance homage to the Virgen de la Encarnación, Santa Úrsula and San Sebastián.
A fitting end to a very successful and eventual two weeks of celebrating what is both traditional and modern about Adeje.
A new app, the Guideo, was launched this week in Adeje, reflecting the important position the borough holds in the world of tourism.
Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and the councillor for economic development, Ermitas Moreira García hosted the presentation of the Guideo, along with its creators, Luis López and Nadia Cervera, and with Francis Ortis, the Canarian Guideo representative.
So what does Guideo allow you to do? This new application is for mobiles and allows the user select routes in a tourist zone, locate where they are on a map using the phone’s camera, geo-positioning and 3-D imaging. Users can also access information past and present about the area they are visiting simply by pointing the camera of their phone at a particular spot. An added advantage is that it works off line.
Still in the initial stages, at the moment it functions in a number of tourist zones in Andalucía, and is available through the App store and very soon for Androids as well. It is hoped that it will soon be available too for routes and zones in Adeje.