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!