Taucho Ethnographic days, June 21/22

The annual Taucho ethnographic days are working to rescue and celebrate the local heritage, during the celebrations of the ‘Virgen de Coromoto’. The sucess of the annual event is down to the work of a local team made up of residents of the area and Town Hall staff .  The event is now in it’s 9th year.  

TAUCHO ETHNOGRAPHIC DAYS, ‘FIESTAS AND TRADITION’ TAUCHO-LA QUINTA 400 YEARS (All events in Spanish)

Friday June 21st

El Almácigo Cultural Centre

8pm: Institutional event.  Conference on the history and tradition of Taucho and La Quinta, with Carmen Rosa Pérez Barrio, a doctor of history.

Showing of documentary, ‘Fiestas y Tradición. Taucho-La Quinta 400 años’

Homage and recognition of all of those who have contributed to the evolution of the local fiestas

Saturday June 22nd

Photographic exhibition of 400 years of fiestas and tradition

11am: Depart from Taucho to La Quinta

11am: Farm animal exhibition

12 noon: Sung mass in La Quinta, with Santa Ana group

12.30pm Photographers

1pm: Music and dance

2pm: Depart for Taucho along the streets of the village, with music and song

2.30pm: Taucho, fiestas

Representations and scenes in the streets of Taucho with A.C. Imoque and the residents of Taucho

Opening of local bars, music and dance

Display of Canarian wrestling

6pm: Presentation of documents from the Adeje archive, photographs of fiestas gone by

6.30pm Inauguration of an ‘allegorical’ mural in the Taucho plaza

7pm – midnight, Dance in the Taucho place with Toke Latino.

VI Imoque Festival in San Sebastián

 

The festival is taking place next Saturday, June 8th, from midday

The Imoque Cultual Association is organising their 6th annual festival, which is taking place this Saturday, June 8th, in the Plaza San Sebastian in La Caleta, from midday. The aim of the festival is to underline the importance of Adeje’s cultural traits and traditions. This is an event that has consolidated the collective Adeje memory in a way that brings a modern public together annually.

The Imoque Cultural Association works hard to maintain and recover many of our older skills and traditions of yesteryear, memories that have formed part of the borough’s ethnographic archive, working to keep alive processes and traits that are lost or are on the point of disappearing.

During the day there will be a myriad of things to do and see, including a craft fair, tasting of local produce, a demonstration of ‘salto del pastor’ (the shepherd’s leap), Gomeran music, folkore of La Graciosa, Canarian wrestling, an exhibition of different breeds of dogs, and lots more.

The festival is open to the public with musical performances scheduled from ‘Parranda los Toledo’ and the Imoque Cultural Association.

The Imoque Cultural Association is supported by the Adeje council, who are dedicated to activities and groups dedicated to the rescue and preservation of local heritage and traditions.

Department of Communications

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adeje’s folklore is alive and well

 

This month the council have celebrated two folklore group anniversaries

The Santa Ana Seniors group and the Adeje Municipal Folklore group have been celebrating 25 and 30 year anniversaries respectively. Since they came into being both groups have worked to rescue, promote and enhance traditional Canarian folklore values as well as restoring celebrations to local calendars, underlining the importance of tradition in the history and development of the borough.

The two groups have been very successful and have counted about the excellent participation of many members of the public and cooperation from the Adeje council. This year the Municipal Folklore group, founded in 1988, celebrate 30 years in existence, and in recent years have won the Adeje Gold Medal and a Ganigo, awarded by Cit Sur for groups and individuals who contribute to tourism quality.

The group have released four records, staged many original performances and travelled nationally and internationally, promoting the history and traditions of the borough.

Santa Ana, named for the patron saint of the Adeje senior citizens, is a group of older residents who come together to learn, share and prove that age is no barrier to continuing to enjoy life. They have released two records, and are regular participants in the more important Adeje events annually.

Department of Communications

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Sebastián, Adeje pays homage

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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.

Security
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.

Devotees, goat’s milk and bouquets of flowers

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Once again the Adeje councillor for heritage, Juan Desiderio Afonso Ruiz has found a gem in the Adeje archives regarding the celebration of the feast day of the town’s co-founder, San Sebastián.

According to a newspaper article in the ‘Gaceta de Tenerife’ a “catholic daily information newspaper” the people of Adeje were just as eager to celebrate the Feast day of San Sebastián in 1916 as today. The piece, published on January 29th of that year, details how the population of this town, “once the secular court of the aborigine kings of Tenerife, celebrated the fiesta…with extraordinary solemnity”. It details how, from 8.30 on the morning of January 20th, people began to gather as the bells tolled, “from every street corner and all the paths that led to the town, walking in procession behind the new statue of San Sebastián, a work credited to a sculpture studio, Valenciana de Bririllo”. The author also wrote of the “intense faith” displayed by many of the participants, with promises to complete a named journey on their knees, gifts of money or candles lit, and one farmer who “said he would give anyone who asked for it milk to drink from his goats – of which he has 100 – as part of a promise made to Santo Mártir who cured his herd of a dreadful ailment. Many also brought their cattle and even dogs to the hermitage”.
According to the author over 2,000 people attended the event 99 years ago and mass was said by Fr Eulogio Gutiérrez Estevez, who was the parish priest in Adeje for 17 years, and who, according to a blog by historian Octavio Rodríguez Delgado, was possibly the person responsible for bringing the statue of San Sebastián, which is the one still carried in the procession today almost one hundred years later, to the parish. Following the mass there was the eagerly anticipated procession to the sea with people throwing bouquets of flowers into the water, followed by a meal with food brought by residents from their homes, until sundown, “the end of a day of good fortune for the body and soul and prosperous for the religion and economy of the town”, concluded the newspaper article.

Christmas Celebrations and Traditions, Near and Far

belen adeje senior citizens
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.

wren boys
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!

three kings adeje
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 History of a Cemetery

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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!

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If you would like to read the article in full (in Spanish); http://www.adeje.es/esp/vercontenido.asp?id=4848

Halloween – A Celtic Tradition On A Global Scale

Dis-Guising will frighten away evil spirits in search of a body Traditional_Irish_halloween_Jack-o'-lantern Barmbrack, traditional Halloween cake halloween modern pumpkin
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.
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.
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.
Obviously nowadays there is a whole industry surrounding the commerical version of Halloween which produces sweets of all shapes, sizes and colours, even down to pre-pacakged Halloween sweet boxes in large supermarkets, including here in Spain.