I find it very confusing knowing who is who in the world of saints. It is a bit like who has the biggest ego amongst the Z list celebs in “I’m a Celebrity…” not that I ever know who they are either!
A short while ago I wrote about San Antonio Abad who is the patron saint of animals, yet here we go, just a few days later and another saint is making the same claim to fame.
The festival of San Sebastian in the Costa Adeje resort of La Caleta is a tradition that dates back to long before the arrival of tourists. Similar to a lot of Spanish countries, a traditional mass is followed with the blessing of the animals, however, those who live in Adeje have a more dramatic way of combining the two.
Every year on the 20th January, once mass is over, the owners of goats, sheep, donkeys and horses will parade, pull, herd or ride their animals to La Enramada beach and cajole them into the sea for a symbolic cleansing before being blessed by the local priest.
Although chaos seems the order of the day, it is just an excuse for local people to make a big splash and have another party. In recent years, this popular event has become an attraction to the Tenerife holidaymaker. Thousands of pilgrims and visitors gather to watch the colourful procession of worshippers, farmers and livestock. The afternoon fun doesn´t end when the statue of San Sebastian is carried to the water’s edge. People grab any vantage point they can to witness carts and buggies negotiating their way through the crowds, children losing their ice creams while trying to pet greedy goats in the makeshift farmyard and the most spectacular sight of dozens of horses frisking and playing among the waves.
This is a delightful combination of the old and the new: the old ways of the farming communities mixing with the new visitors who enjoy sampling some good traditional food and drink. And when the sun starts to set, the old and new harmoniously join together again as the music strikes up and the dancing begins.
For a bit of genuine local colour this is an experience not to be missed.
“NOCHES DE PARRANDA”
19:00 Clubbing “Boleros de Armeñime”
19:45 Folk group “The Diata”. Tijoco-La Hoya
20:30 Eve Mass in honor of San Sebastian Martyr
21:30 Procession with the statue of St. Sebastian accompanied by the Band of Adeje. Then fireworks display.
22:00 Group Folklore School of Adeje
00:00 Dancing to “The Mesturao”.
Sunday January 20
12:00 Mass in honor of St. Sebastian Martyr. The Mass will be sung by the choir of the parish of St. Ursula in Adeje. Then the procession will proceed by the usual route, accompanied by the Band of Musical Patronage of the historic village of Adeje.
18:00 h. Eucharist