With Christmas and the Three Kings celebrations out of the way Adeje is now ready for the next annual fiesta –that of the town’s co-patron, San Sebastián.
This is one of the most popular and engaging fiestas in Tenerife, with the bathing of horses and other four-legged mounts at the La Enramada beach the highlight of the festivities. According to the councillor for culture, Nayra Medina Bethencourt, “San Sebastián is a perfect coming together of people who live in Adeje and those who are visiting the borough. The plaza de San Sebastián in La Caleta is the perfect stage for this celebration of harmonious co-existence on January 20th”. And this year too the borough begins to celebrate the 100th year of the presence of the statue of San Sebastián which is carried ceremoniously to the sea, brought to the parish in 1916 by the parish priest of the time, Eulogio Gutiérrez Estévez.
In fact the celebrations begin on Monday January 19th with a two-day open air exhibition of municipal photographs. The ‘pinchos’ competition also returns. Pinchos are small tapas on a cocktail stick, cheap and tasty, and ideal for eating on the street. You can vote for your favourite pincho from 7pm to midnight. Mass with the Santa Ana folklore group in honour of San Sebastián will be celebrated at 8pm followed by a procession with the Adeje Municipal Band, and fireworks.
From 7pm there will also be a ‘Parrandas’ evening, with small music groups playing in public, among them the Paranda Boleros de Armeñime, G. F. La Diata, A. C. Cultural Imoque, the Parranda El Mesturao and the Adeje Municipal Folklore group.
The 20th of January is the actual feast day of San Sebastián and events begin at 12 midday with mass in honour of the Saint sung by the Santa Úrsula de Adeje parochial choir. The procession with the image of the saint then moves outside and takes the pilgrims down to La Enramada beach where the crowds will be waiting to see the traditional bathing of the horses, and quite often a few donkeys and maybe a camel or two.
This is a fiesta stepped in local traditions and was first celebrated here in the 18th century. Over the years country people and local Adeje farmers and beyond continued with their devotions to the saint in a very particular and special way. Many have attributed miracles to the statue of San Sebastián, including cures and favours granted.
Given that up to 20,000 people take part in the celebrations every year, the council has made sure there will be more than adequate security cover, with personnel from the Policia Local, the Civil Protection Unit, the Sea Rescue service, ambulances and health professionals. Please take note of any access restrictions on the streets or on the beach in advance of the procession as they are there for the public’s security.
Some parking restrictions will be in place to facilitate free flow of traffic and allow people walk along the streets. There will also be a zone cordoned off for farm animals who are taking part in the festivities.
People are also reminded that they should come in time to park and walk, wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable, use sun cream (particularly with children) and bring water. If you are bringing you own pet/animal they must be on a lead and bring food and water for them too.