Cemetery ready for family visits

 

The Adeje Council has been working to get the local town cemetery ready for visits of the public this week, during All Saints day and All Souls day, with November 1st a public holiday.

Alongside the preparations in the cemetery, there will be additional masses held in the parish. The cemetery will remain open on October 30th and 31st from 8am to 6pm and from 8am to 8pm on November 1st and 2nd.

In the municipal cemetery the chapel has been repainted, many of the niches have been repaired where needed and the garden and green zones attended too, with new seasonal flowers planted. The metal gates have also been cleaned.

According to the councillor with responsibility Esther Rivero Vargas, ”this is an important time for our families when we remember those who have died and the council works annually to make sure the cemetery is in prime condition for the many visitors we will receive over the coming days. It’s important that people feel that this is a place of peace and harmony”. She said.

Those who will be visiting the cemetery will also be able to depend on the help of cemetery staff who will be in attendance during the week.

There will be special masses tomorrow (Tuesday October 31st) in the parishes of La Milagrosa, Tijoco La Hoya (5pm), Santa Ursula Mártir, Adeje town (6pm), San José, Los Olivos (7pm). On Wednesday there will be masses in the cemetery chapel at 9.30am and 12.30pm, in Armeñime (10am), Callao Salvaje (12 noon), San Sebastián (5pm.) and at 6.30pm there will be a mass in the Cemetery crypt with the Adeje School of Music chamber choir and that mass will be followed by a blessing of the niches.

On November 2nd, All Souls Day, there will be masses in the cemetery chapel at 9am and 5.30pm, and in Tijoco – La Hoya (6pm) and in Los Olivos (8pm).

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Halloween , souls and saints

firey witch
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.

halloween modern pumpkin
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.

Barmbrack, traditional Halloween cake
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.
Here in Spain and other parts of the world the day after Halloween, November 1st, is of huge importance socially and cultural. As mentioned above, it’s Dia de Todos los Santos y Fieles Difuntos”, All Saints and All Souls day, and it is the custom to visit family graves, usually bringing flowers to the cemetery. In Adeje the council has made sure the local graveyard is ready to receive visitors, and the Farmers Market has flowers for those visiting loved ones and no doubt a good supply of pumpkins as well.
The councillor with responsibility for the cemetery, Esther Rivero Vargas, has also announced that they hope to be able to offer a local cremation service by next year as well.

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All Saints and All Souls Day preparations

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Masses will be held in all the parishes

The Adeje council have been busy preparing the town cemetery for All Saints and All Souls day, November 1st and 2nd. As well as work to maintain the grounds in good condition, this year there has also been improvements in the garden and common access zones.

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According to the councillor responsible, Esther Rivero Vargas, “these are important dates when we all remember those gone before us, and that’s why the council is always working to give the cemetery special attention in the lead up to the two feast days so that when people come to visit that find themselves in a place that is peaceful and harmonious”.

Included in the improvements are repainting, upgrades to the interior arches, and the planting of chrysanthemums in the patios as well as the addition of new decorative floral arrangements throughout the installation.

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The parish churches in the borough will hold masses over the relevant days:
Friday October 31st: Tijoco La Hoya (5pm.), Fañabé (6pm.), Los Olivos (7pm), and San Sebastián (7.30pm)
Saturday, November 1st, All Saints Day: Cemetery chapel, Adeje, (9am), Armeñime (10am), Adeje parish church (11am), Callao Salvaje (12 noon) y Fañabé (12:30pm). Adeje parish church (6pm), Los Olivos (7pm) and the Cemetery chapel, (7.30pm)
Sunday November 2nd, All Souls Day: Morning times as on Saturday. Afternoon masses will be in Tijoco La Hoya (5pm.), San Sebastián (6pm) and Cemetery chapel (7pm).