Archive for October 13th, 2011
A Beast Of A Celebration In Adeje

The art of enjoying a traditional Canarian romeria is to soak up the atmosphere without treading in any of the trimmings left by the parade of sturdy farm animals. There’s always so much to enjoy for all the senses at these celebrations of agriculture and the fruits of the land and Adeje packed them into the centre of the old town on a gasping hot October afternoon and evening.

Plaza del Cerco guarded at each end by statues of a Guanche and a bombero (fireman) was already buzzing when I arrived, oxon and horses were being groomed, carts were being decorated and the all important planchas and grills were already cooking bbq’s on board as the wine started to flow. Musicians were tuning up with drums, timple (small guitars) and accordians but amidst the old customs ladies checked state of the art mobiles and rallied the troops by text. The local supermarkets had never been busier with ice creams and cold drinks needed to quench thirsts as the afternoon sun beat down.

With the oxon and donkeys chomping at the bit it was time for the big parade up into Calle Grande, the dancers led the way in a blaze of colour as they slowly inched their way up the packed main street. Many people had arrived early and found good vantage points at the tables outside the bars and cafes, tapas and full meals were whizzing out of kitchens and the livestocks nostrils were twitiching as they lumbered along their route. I have been to many of the annual performances of The Passion on Good Friday but Calle Grande seemed more densley packed for this celebration.

Approaching the top of the street the scene was set around the church with timple players strumming their instruments and the saints statues taking pride of place at the top of the steps. Each cart and its followers took their turn to receive blessings as fresh fruit and vegetables were offered up as examples of the bounty of the land. Among the blessings and rousing cheers for San Sebastian and Santa Ursula there was a special warmth and empathy for the people of El Hierro as a wave of goodwill was sent towards the seismically troubled island.

As the formal procession broke up the wine and beer flowed around the church square with its magnificent setting against the backdrop of Roque del Conde. The last stragglers of the carts were taking their time negotiating the deposits on the road while dishing out cups full of wine and plates full of meat and potatoes. Dancing was breaking out in small groups as the wine worked its magic and the large stage was set for a long night ahead. Once again in Tenerife the best pleasures proved to be the natural ones.