Cruz Roja and Adeje council donate 20 family boxes which include Christmas fare
20 Adeje families received Christmas boxes from the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) in conjunction with the Adeje council this week.
These were boxes specially prepared for families in need at this time of year, with Christmas-based food products as well as some basic dietary staples. The donations were made as part of the on-going social services aid programme which is dedicated to helping those most in need throughout the year.
Present at the delivery, which took place in the Adeje Cultural Centre, were the Adeje councillor for social welfare, Amada Trujillo Bencomo and volunteer members of the Red Cross.
For her part, the councillor thanked the Cruz Roja for all the social assistance projects they are operating in the Adeje borough, and said that she was delighted that Christmas continues “to bring out the best in all of us”. She said these boxes “are of great help to the families here today and the council of Adeje is delighted to continue to work with the Cruz Roja in their work reaching out to the most vulnerable in our society”.
Caixa Bank donates school material and books
The aim of the initiative is to guarantee that students from disadvantaged families have equal education opportunities
The Adeje education councillor, Andrés Pérez Ramos met recently with Caixa Bank and AMPA (the parents association for schools) to confirm details of the banks’ commitment to donate school materials and text books to families most in need in the borough. It is the second year in a row that the bank has donated in this manner.
The aim of the initiative is to guarantee that students from disadvantaged families have equal education opportunities and remove difficulties children many have in pursuing their studies.
Pérez Ramos thanked the bank for their donations and the help they were giving families in the borough. He said this extra assistance was “as well as the assistance coming from the department of education”, adding that he was working in conjunction with the councillor for social welfare to give the best possible attention to local residents, and it was this kind of attention to local needs that meant they could also “receive help from other institutions such as Hospiten Sur and the Cruz Roja”.
Representing the Caixa Bank at the meeting was Manuel Luis Méndez Martín and Eusebio Dorta was there on behalf of the parents’ associations. The donations are part of the bank’s decentralised social programme, the aim of which is to help persons with the greatest needs, using proposals such as this one, in the most efficient way using synergy between institutions such as the Adeje council to reach those on the margins of society. The funding for books is also being spent in Adeje book shops, so “it’s not just benefitting families but local businesses as well”, commented the councillor.
The Adeje councillor for finance Epifanio Díaz Hernández has released details of Adeje’s move to the ORVE, the ‘Oficina de Registro Virtual’, or Virtual Registry Office, part of the services offered by the national Ministry for Finance and Public Administration. The objective behind the move is to allow members of the public officially register, send and receive official documents electronically.
“This tool allows a communication between the different administrations which means that the citizen doesn’t have to re-present any documentation that is already registered in the system”, explained the councillor.
“We have joined the service because it offers speed and quality of service to the citizens”, he continued. “The biggest benefit of this virtual office is that all of the administrations – local, insular, regional – can interact telematically to process matters without the need for documentation to physically travel between two points with corresponding savings in cost and time”. The service can be accessed by members of the Adeje public at the Citizens Advice Office (Oficina de Atención a la Ciudadanía ,SAC), in the main Town Hall building.
Epifanio Díaz Hernández added, “the introduction of ORVE in the Canarias has been made possible thanks to the work of the Public Administrations department in realising that any move to improve the processing of matters of interest to members of the public is fundamental.
Adeje’s current online service has a very high usage rate; in 2013 nearly 2,000 people processed some form of official business online. 33 % of people looking for their travel certificate did so online and many others used the service to register their residency here too. The overall figure was a 238% increase in online use over the previous year, when only 837 online petitions were made, and already this year, particularly in the areas of sport and culture, the number of online operations has risen by over 50%.
One of the noteworthy things about the Adeje online service is that users can also use the service to present bills if they are service providers and officially present requests for a place in the Adeje Farmer’s Market – this service alone accounted for 17 per cent of the online traffic last year. And as the councillor pointed out, “none of these people had to actually come into the Town Hall to make their petition, saving them time and money…..so the online service means a saving for the citizen”.
Another move by the council’s technical development team has been to make sure the page now adapts to the format you are using – computer, laptop, tablet or phone – and the availability of personal assessment assistance which offers the user remote support via their computer using the Team View technology which, once authorised by the user, allows the council’s IT department access your terminal and suggest ways of improving the system operations. This service is operated with built in confidentiality and security guarantees. Once the connections is terminated the IT cannot re-access the user’s computer, further guaranteeing the security of each user.
Work includes the improvement of the pavements and a possible relocation of the dry dock
In recent weeks councillors Epifanio Díaz Hernández and Andrés Pérez Ramos, along with a town planner, met with residents of El Puertito de Adeje to let them know about the plan to improve this part of the Adeje coastline. The councillors explained that “we are talking about changes to an emblematic part of our borough taking its characteristics and particular features into account”.
The representatives of the Council added that “any changes will, of course, respect all of the existing regulations. What we are hoping to do with this work is offer the people who live in the area an improvement in all the communal areas, areas which form an integral part of the zone”.
Among the works listed for El Puertito are: installation of hand railings along the pedestrian path; bringing the pathways that link to the houses into line with normal standards, and improvement of communal areas. Also in the plan is an overall facelift for the zone, with the planting of vegetation appropriate for the coastal setting. They are also studying the possibility of limiting vehicle access into the area, but that is still very much in the planning stage according to the councillors.
Another matter raised during the meeting with residents was the possibility of changing the location of the slipway to a more protected part of El Puertito, taking advantage of existing natural conditions to more easily launch boats and at the same time increasing the part of the beach available to bathers.
Adeje is a cultural cross roads, a salad bowl of traditions and practises, and Christmas is just one of these times when we tend to remember how we celebrated this festive season in the different countries of our birth.
With people from over 120 different countries living in our multi-cultural borough, it would be virtually impossible to list all the different traditions that are represented here today. But what is interesting is how immigration over the years has seen some practises from our past travel to new lands and adapt to new communities?
Here in Spain the most obvious example at Christmas is, no doubt, the fact that Santa Claus now visits many many children in Spain – in the past he left most of the gift-giving to his good friends the Three Kings, who brought the baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But as communities in Spain and in Adeje began to welcome families from other lands, Santa Claus agreed to include Spain in his busy schedule.
But while we now share many customs, some we still observe in our own way. For instance for most Spanish people the big Christmas meal, where family come together, is dinner on Christmas Eve. Traditional meals will almost inevitably include prawns or other shellfish, with meats or fish as part of the main course. Most businesses close at lunch time on December 24th to give people time to get home and get ready for the meal, and while small presents may be exchanged that night, the big day for presents in Spain continues to be Kings Day, January 6th. December 25th is really a day to relax, and attend religious services for those who wish to.
To those of us who are from the UK or Ireland, December 25th is the day when our children will wake up early (too early for many parents!) and search eagerly for their presents under the tree. That afternoon is when we will have our Christmas lunch or dinner- with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and vegetables. Regional differences may see goose served instead of turkey, in Ireland a boiled ham is frequently served alongside the turkey, in the UK ham, roast beef or roast pork may be the second meat. Cranberry sauce is standard for the turkey as well. After the main course Christmas pudding is served, often lit with a dash of whiskey as it enters the dining room, and usually accompanied by cream or brandy butter. In many households the pudding is made months in advance, and steamed on the day.
The next day is traditionally our day to relax and get over the excesses of the large meal.. In the UK December 26th is Boxing Day, the name probably stemming from the old custom in Britain of giving a ‘Christmas Box’ to tradesmen and women on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is turn is linked to an older tradition which saw many servants who had served the family where they worked on the 25th allowed home on December 26th, often with a box containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. In Ireland the day is a Feast Day, St Stephen’s Day and the day of the Wren Boys!
The Wren Boys traditionally were groups of small boys who would hunt for a wren, and then chase the bird until they either caught it or it died from exhaustion. The dead bird was tied to the top of a pole or holly bush, which was decorated with ribbons or coloured paper. On St. Stephen’s Day, the wren was carried from house to house by the boys, who wore straw masks or blackened their faces with burnt cork, and dressed in old clothes (often women’s dresses.) At each house, the boys sing the Wren Boys’ song in return for money which would be used to hold a dance for the whole village. Even today groups of Wren Boys will be seen on St Stephens day, but without dead wrens.
Similar to the Wren Boys but not just in Ireland, Mummers would also go from house to house, and they would perform plays and wear disguises, often of straw, and ask permission before entering the house. Mummer performances would have been the first kind of folk theatre experienced in the UK and Ireland, and these would have been generally light-hearted occasions with audiences allowed to laugh and comment during the play. This tradition has also travelled with immigrant waves in previous centuries, and today you will find Mummer groups performing theatrical works in Russia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and many other parts of the world.
Christmas is a very special time in Germany too, the country which has brought us the notion of the Kris-kind, or Christ chid, which many of us have adapted to use for gift giving among groups of friends or workers. There, on December 6th, many houses receive a visit from St. Nicholas. On the night before, children place their newly cleaned shoes by the front door in the hope that Nicholas might fill them with nuts, fruits, chocolate, and sweets and not a stick which they will get if they have been naughty. The German excellence in baking and biscuit making comes into its own too at this time of year. Christmas markets are hugely popular and traditional in Germany and are held in many towns and cities during December, with hand crafted gifts and produce on offer in the most of picturesque settings. The Advent Calendar, also a German invention, is now found in many countries around the world, whether home made or shop bought, and is a lovely way for children to count down to December 25th.
The Christmas Crib first appeared in Italy though has undergone changes since then with many countries adapting the concept and adding different figures. In Sweden on December 13 young girls visit homes bringing cakes, dressed in long white robes and wearing a crown of candles like Saint Lucia. Lucia was a martyr, probably from the 4th century, who helped Christians who were persecuted by the Romans to survive by bringing them food in their hiding places, wearing a crown of candles.
Christmas is celebrated throughout the African continent by Christian communities, and there are approximately 350 million Christians in Africa. The Coptic Christians in Ethiopia and Egypt celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December in their calendar, which is the 7th of January for most of the rest of us, similar to the Russian Orthodox church. However, some Russians observe two Christmases and even two New Years, following both the church and the secular calendars.
Take care here in Spain on December 28th – while you probably won’t see Wren Boys, you might find yourself the victim of a prank or two. This is Dia de los Inocentes, which is, in a sense, the Spanish version of April Fool’s Day.
As in most part of the world celebrations are pretty spectacular on New Year’s Eve. While many of us might watch the count-down on television tuned into Big Ben in London, for Spanish people who live in the peninsula they will probably watch the clock and celebrations in the Puerto del Sol, in Madrid, though don’t forget it will be 2014 an hour earlier there. Local television stations here will be tuned to Santa Cruz, but if you are in Adeje why not go down to the plaza in La Caleta where the year will be rung in style with live music and lots of fun. Also remember to bring your grapes. In Spain traditionally people eat one grape for each stroke of the clock at midnight on December 31st, and for each grape you swallow you should have a month’s good luck in the year to come.
January 6th is the probably the most important date of the year for Spanish children. Even those who might have been good and received a present from Santa Claus in December will know that it is the arrival of the Three Kings, Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar, that sees their ‘big’ present delivered. Parades take place in many towns and here in Adeje the Kings arrive by helicopter at 5pm on January 5th to the main town football stadium and at 7pm there is a terrific parade up Adeje’s Calle Grande with each of the Kings on a magnificent float handing out sweets to passers by. There is loads of colour and fun during the parade with a host of other characters taking part. The next day children will wake early to find out what they have been left – and hope it’s not a lump of coal!
In Ireland January 6th is also celebrated, but it is know as Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas, and is a day when men traditionally did all the housework. In Canada, in Quebec have a celebration called “La Fete du Roi” They bake a cake and place a bean in the middle. Whoever is the lucky discoverer of the bean, gets to be the king or queen, according to tradition.
The mayor of Adeje José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, was in Madrid this morning to collect the City of Science and Innovation prize awarded by Spain’s Ministry of Finance.
Adeje will now form part of the Innpulsa national network which allows direct access to innovation and information projects, European assistance, help for small and medium enterprises in the borough, etc.
The mayor was accompanied by the Adeje councillor for local development Ermitas Moreira, and following the ceremony both were present at the first working day of Innpulsa with the Minister and other members of the network.
Mayor Rodríguez Fraga said it was “a huge honour to be in Madrid to collect this award on behalf of the people of Adeje”. He added that is was a prize for the borough, “for its modern and innovate work. We join this network with the hope and expectation that we can continue to work on the front line. One of the most important aspects of this prize is that it is not just a symbolic recognition, but also signifies Adeje’s acceptance into a network which will allow us to access the world of innovation, European assistance, offer help to small and medium enterprises, lines of credit…it brings a huge amount of momentum to the town”.
Adeje was the only town of its size (between 20 and 100 thousand inhabitants) in Spain to be awarded this prize, “and also the only tourist borough” qualified Rodriguez Fraga. In other town size categories A Coruña, Salinas (Alicante) and Puerto Lumbreras (Murcia) also won coveted prizes.
The Adeje mayor said, during his acceptance speech, that “we are facing the challenge of building the future, finding the right way to face the new changes which we meet daily, which make our lives more complicated, more dynamic. I accept this award as a recognition of important work done in the field of innovation, that has seen us deal with profound changes, in a borough that has transformed from being a mainly agricultural society of 6,000 inhabitants to a tourist destination with more than 50,000 residents of over 120 different nationalities.”
He continued, “recognition is motivational and aspirational, helping us advance, not just in the areas where the Council may be present but also in different sectors, in business, social sectors, trade unions…we are working to consolidate and maintain a healthy tourist destination in a very competitive world.”
Why did Adeje receive this award?
The Finance Ministry awarded Spanish councils, such as Adeje, who demonstrated levels of effort and commitment in I+D+i (Investigation + development + innovation), creating opportunities for strengthening and promoting science and innovation from a municipal platform.
The Council has invested in infrastructures that favour economic sustainability and sponsor growth in the borough based on knowledge and innovation. Adeje’s candidature also included initiatives, ideas and innovative projects which proved to the Ministry that Adeje indeed had accomplished the requirements of I+D+i standards, and that the contribution of the council in this field had led directly to the improvement of the production model on offer.
In the official documentation presented by Adeje a number of initiatives were mentioned, including Adeje Impulsa: Development Strategies; Factoría de Innovación Turística de Canarias (FITC); The Centro de Desarrollo Turístico de Costa Adeje (CDTCA) building; Innovation Project/Municipal Undertaking on Fibre Optics (VoIP, FTTH); Arena Geste; Escuela Taller Creativec; Jornada Adejetec; Programa Filae; Campus Universitario de Adeje; Proyecto Red NI2; Digitalisation of the towns archives; I+D+1 Programmes (Punto PAIT, FIPE, E-Communicae) and the WAF Architecture Prize for the Plaza de España de Adeje.
“As you can see, its a long list of projects and initiatives which, taken all together, are part of a strategy of developmental change undertaken in recent years by the council, and which today is bearing fruit”, concluded the mayor.
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!
This weekend sees the local Adeje fiestas really take off, with a host of events scheduled from Friday to Monday, which is a local fiesta with schools and many businesses closed.
On Saturday from 9am the Cross event takes place – you can sign up on the morning with categories from junior to senior, with races from 10am.
On the same morning there is also an exhibition of classic Volkswagen cars in the car park in front of the town’s main post office.
From 6.30pm on Saturday evening there will be performances from different local bands, and later on the main parade up the Calle Grande from 8.30 with lots of local groups, dancers, cheerleaders, fun and famous figures taking part not to mention an estimated 96 kilos of sweets to be handed out. The evening ends with music and dancing in the Plaza de España with the Orchestra Sensación Gomera.
Sunday is the day dedicated to the Virgen de La Encarnación with various religious events taking place and a procession through the main streets of the town.
From 10pm the Plaza de Espana will enjoy a tribue concert by Esther Ovejero to Cavela Vargas, with the Wamampy orchestra bringing the evening’s events to a close.
Monday October 14th is a local holiday and is Dia de Santa Ursula. From 11am there will be children’s activities bouncy castles, and attractions in the plaza. At six o’clock there will be a decade of the rosary and a mass in honour of Santa Ursula, followed by fireworks.
That evening promises a lot of laughs with a festival of humour in the Plaza de España:
The Adeje council have just announced that the borough has officially entered a period of financial stability, and tomorrow will vote to repay almost half of a credit loan. The council will pay back €3 million of a €6 million loan, cancelling out a large part of the borough’s debt.
According to the mayor Jose Miguel Rodriguez Fraga the cutbacks made throughout all the departments have seen the council bring the borough back to stability a year ahead of plan, and he says that they can now start to look at improving a number of local services. “Measures taken were effective, from better control of spending in all areas, the suspension, for instance, of Sunday rubbish collection, use of more efficient energy methods, reducing in leasing arrangements, the elimination of health insurance for administrative workers etc. The cuts were worth the effort and have allowed us achieve our economic objectives and guarantee fundamental services as well as now improving others. These might not fall into the category of ‘essential’ but we see them as very important because they are the backbone of our co-existence within the borough, services related to sport, culture or training” the mayor commented.
While the mayor mentioned his satisfaction at the good economic showing of all the council’s departments he said he was particularly pleased with the behaviour of Adeje’s residents, with a very high local tax payment rate.
According to the borough’s finance councillor, Epifanio Díaz Hernández, the early payment of half of the loan will save the council over €807,000 in interest payments.