Over 200 people attended the official proclamation of the start of Easter Week in Adeje yesterday in the Convento de San Francisco. Two addresses were made, representing two important facets of the borough, one by Fr. Ismael Martín and the other by the director general of GF Hotels, María Victoria López.
Fr Martín, who was the parish priest in the town during the 1990s, is remembered with immense fondness by thousands of parishioners, saying mass, playing the guitar, and residents were delighted that he was invited to address them on this occasion. María Victoria López is a well-respected businessperson, someone who has paved the way for other women to advance in the tourism industry locally and beyond.
Ismael Martín spoke of the significance of Easter Week, referring to love, faith, belief and truth, and remembering with great affection his years in the Adeje parish and the many thousands of friends he made. Victoria López centred her presentation on the links between tourism, faith, religion and history in a borough such as Adeje. “Tourism and traditions do exist side by side” she said, and encouraged businesses to “adopt plans and strategies in sustainable tourism and which take account of our historical heritage and culture so that our visitors can enjoy local customs and events, such as Easter Week in Adeje”.
Also taking part were the Adeje Municipal Patron Band accompanied by sopranos María Candelaria González and Margarita Díaz, tenor Jorge Cordero and baritone Borja M. Molina. The evening also marked the opening of the exhibition, “Devoción y patrimonio: Instantáneas de la Pasión y Semana Santa de Adeje” (Devotion and history. Moments from the Good Friday Passion Play and Easter Week in Adeje).
The Adeje mayor presented the full Easter Week programme which includes some new events, including the Children’s Procession on Saturday March 24th at 5pm from Los Olivos to the Santa Úrsula church and invited all the children of the borough to take part. The town also has a new statue this year, Ntra. Sra. del Consuelo, which was blessed on Friday March 16th and will take part in a number of processions during Easter Week. The mayor said he hoped the new additions to the Easter Week calendar would help strengthen the town’s traditions and ensure that the next generation of Adeje’s residents would continue to respect and feel involved in what was important to the borough. He added, “Easter Week transcends religion, it is also something that enriches us and our attraction as a place to visit, promoting Adeje as a borough that respects universal beauty and spirituality”.
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The Adeje council will launch their Easter programme on Saturday, March 17th with addresses by the Rev. Ismael Martín and the Director General of the Fedola Group, Maria Victoria López. Mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga commented, “We are changing the presentation somewhat and asking two individuals with very distinct and different social roles, one traditional and one business based, reflecting both sides of our community, both of huge benefit, to speak. So this year Fr. Ismael will represent our traditions and Ms Lopez our international tourism side”
The Adeje municipal patron band will also perform at the event, which will mark the official presentation of the Adeje Easter programme which has some new additions this year. The event will also mark the opening of a special exhibition of photographs detailing the “devotion and history of Easter Week in Adeje”.
On March 16th a new statue will be introduced into the Adeje religious ‘family’, ‘María Santísima del Consuelo’ a work by Francisco Zafra. The statue will be blessed and brought in procession along the Calle Castillo to the Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza hermitage until the Monday March 26th procession.
“Easter week in Adeje is now recognised nationally and internationally as an important event both for the artistic and historic relevance reflected in the different processions and for the Good Friday street theatre, ‘La Pasión’. This year we are adding new elements too to underline the importance of the celebrations”, said the Adeje mayor.
The Adeje council have also, as in last year, organised a gastronomy event linked to Easter Week with the Lenten Tapas Route. Many bars and restaurants have already signed up to take part, most of them located along the route of the most popular Easter processions in the town. There are also prizes for the public who can enter by having the special leaflet, available in participating establishments, stamped and once completed (with four stamps) posted in the special boxes in the Adeje cultural centre, the youth centre or the Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (CDTCA). The competition closes on April 1st.
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Thousands of spectators were in Adeje today to view ‘La Pasión’, the annual presentation of the last days and crucifixion of Jesus, with over 300 amateur actors involved in the production which takes place along the town’s Calle Grande. It was broadcast regionally on TV Canaria and nationally on 13 TV and on local radio, Radio Sur, as well as online on the Adeje council webpage.
Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga congratulated all those who took part as well as the team behind the performance, without whom it would not be possible. He said “What is important is that even though this has huge tourist interest, and we are delighted to share the event with all who attend, this is something that has evolved from our culture, from our way of life here, involving the whole town. The level of participation among the people of Adeje, not all of them born here, many from other parts of Spain and far beyond, is immense and helps build us as a community”. He added that this event “tells a timeless story and shows human beings moved by friendship, love, cruelty, treason, abandonment….elements that are part of the human history with cultural and traditional ramifications”.
‘La Pasión’ has been performed in Adeje for 23 years and began as a local community initiative, a small theatrical presentation outside the Santa Úrsula church. Over the years it has grown and incorporated different stages, enriched by local historical additions, costumes and music. Today it starts at the Plaza Cruz del Llano with the Last Supper and ends with the crucifixion in the Plaza de España. The part of Jesus and Mary are played by José Antonio López, and Ana Oneida Borges Medina, both from Adeje, along with hundreds of other local amateur actors. Rehearsals last over a month and the performance is directed by Laura Marrero.
According to the councillor with responsibility for culture, Adolfo Alonso Ferrera, “we also have to acknowledge the participation of groups including: la Librea de Valle Guerra, the Adeje School of Music and Dance, Ballet Beanky, as well as those professional actors who also offer their services to the performance, namely Baltasar Isla, Nacho Almenar and Juancho Aguiar.”
The staging of this event in Adeje has become a regional reference point at Easter and marks Adeje as a borough of cultural values. The council congratulates all those who work to make this such an important event as well as those involved in other parallel events, such as the Cooking at Lent establishments, all working to make Adeje a very special place to visit and live in.
Ahead of Good Friday’s ‘La Pasión’, the Adeje street performance depicting the last days and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, English Time spoke to José Antonio López, who has played the part of Jesus Christ for 11 years.
What is the importance of ‘La Pasión’ for the people of Adeje?
“I think it is an event that the people of Adeje have immense pride in, whether they are actually taking part directly or not, and it allows us to demonstrate our ability to generate culture, beauty and respect for traditions, something which does garner admiration and recognition for the town.”
How many years have you been playing the role of Jesus Christ?
“11 years as Jesus but I have also been involved in other years playing other parts – in fact in the 20 years of ‘La Pasión’ there have only been 3 years when I haven’t taken part – when I was studying abroad.”
Is it different each year – do you feel different during each performance?
“Yes, every year there are different nuances. We have a very creative and innovative director who always brings new elements into the performance that enhances the event while respecting what is the essence of Adeje’s ‘La Pasión’ . Personally, every year I feel as if it were the first time, with a sense of expectation, an eagerness to see how we will perform, and how we are going to experience this year’s event.”
Has your life changed?
“Not really – perhaps I am a little less anonymous, and OK, in that sense, yes. I am always grateful for the kindness shown to me by people who recognise me at different times and places.”
What importance does the story of the death of Jesus Christ have for us today in the 21st century?
“In remembering him we remember someone who took on the suffering of all humanity and the story of the death and resurrection of Christ can make us hope that there is a way to change what is happening in the world and that our greatest weapon is love. With love we can end injustice and the human suffering that we are witnessing on a daily basis.”
During Easter Week the Adeje council, through the department of economic development and job creation, under Councillor Manuel Luis Méndez Martín, have developed a parallel programme designed to complement this very special week in the local calendar. The plan uses local gastronomy as a platform to promote the borough and remind people of the more traditional dishes, invigorating the local restaurant sector, appealing both to residents and the increased number of visitors during what is a very popular holiday season.
During the presentation of the programme the Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga emphasised that “this is the second year that we have run with this Cooking for Lent project, which was a success last year, and brings added cultural value to the town alongside the religious processions and cultural events taking place. This is important for us as a tourist destination given the excellent standard of the restaurants we have too”.
‘Cooking for Lent’ sees 20 restaurants and cafeterias come together during Easter Week to offer a range of particular dishes based on fish and sea food, as well as sweeter presentations as is the norm at this time of year. The dishes are prepared using fresh local produce.
All of the participating restaurants and cafeterias can be found online, using digital maps, as well as being listed in www.adeje.es where you will find a full listing of all those taking part, their addresses and hours of opening.
‘Cristo de Las Penas’ will be in the Holy Monday procession for the first time
The statue, Cristo de Las Penas, a work by sculptor Francisco Romero Zafra (Cordoba, 1956) will be taking part in the Holy Monday procession in La Viña, Adeje, in honour of Our Lady of Hope. The Liturgical events will began at 8pm with a mass in the small church, followed by the procession through the streets of this part of the borough.
During the procession there will be different offerings, one from the principal vocalist with the Carmen Mota Company. The Imoque folk group will also offer a performance during the procession and the Adeje seniors association will be participating as well.
The most emotional section of the celebration will be at the Plaza César Manrique in La Postura with the ‘meeting’ of the statues of John the Baptist, the Cristo de las Penas, the Jesus the Captive statue and Our Lady of Hope. The Policia Local, the Policia Nacional and the volunteer Fire brigade, the Guardia Civil, the Lifeguards, all of whom have links to the statues, will have representatives in attendance.
For the last two years this procession, considered one of the most moving by the local residents, has also been accompanied by the BRILCAN Army Nº2 Band along with the Adeje Patron Municipal band. The evening will also see the annual offering by the Piedra Redonda residents association with a lyrical/musical performance outside the local Cultural Centre.
On Maundy Thursday the public can see one of the other solemn processions, the Mandato, with the statue of Christ of the Misericordia, linked to the Brotherhood of the Misericordia, who have had a presence in Adeje since 1661. El Señor de la Santa Cena (Lord of the Last Supper) is also seen during this procession as is the Mater Dolorosa, a statue in the Andalucian tradition, of a very tearful Our Lady (with tears made of glass, and using natural eyelashes according to the art historians).
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Easter Week in Adeje today is a reference point for the Canary Islands, a display of the sentiment of a borough and people who, while also growing as a pioneering and modern tourist destination, have not deserted that which defines them. For them and for our visitors, during the following days, the visual heritage of the borough will be seen on the streets and in the churches in a series of processions and religious and cultural events.
The Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, launching the Easter Week programme today, explained that “The programme underlines the make-up of who we are – a borough with a double identity: on the one hand we are a holiday destination with a huge number of visitors and on the other hand we continue to nurture and reinforce our traditions with a huge participation from the people of the town, who are the ones who bring new ideas to the table, which improve and help the celebrations evolve, making them more relevant to our culture today in Adeje.”
Easter Week celebrations are not new to Adeje and there are records stretching back to the 13th century detailing events around this important religious festival. “We have worked to restore much of our visual culture as well as adding new sculptures and statues to the town’s collection, enriching our artistic and historical heritage”, added the mayor.
Among the acts that attract high levels of public interest is ‘La Pasión’, the theatrical representation of the last days and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which is on Good Friday (April 14th) starting at midday. This will also be broadcast live on Television Canarias locally and 13TV nationally.
Other events include, for the second year running, the ‘Lenten Cooking’ programme which sees many restaurants in the borough offering special Easter menus. There is also a number of exhibitions. Irish photographer Phil Crean’s photographs of last year’s Good Friday event are featured in ‘Detalles de la Pasión’ in the Adeje Cultural Centre, from April 7th to 16th and in the San Francisco Convent works of Juan Davó in ‘Vía Crucis y La Piedad Doméstica’ will be on show.
(Photos: Credit Phil Crean, www.philcrean.com)
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