More traditions in Adeje

Every year on the second Sunday of Easter (which is today) in Adeje, the traditional Rogation of Virgen de la Encarnación is commemorated. This is the time when the Adejeros fulfil the ancient promise they made over 300 years ago and walk from the church of St. Ursula in the town of Adeje to the Church of San Sebastian in La Caleta.


From what I can gather, the origin of this particular event goes back to the early years of the conquest of Tenerife. Tradition says the original statue of the Virgin was found hidden in a bower in La Enramada.  The image was later transferred to Garachico but the people of Adeje adopted a new statue Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación that was worshiped firstly in a cave and then in a chapel constructed near the sea and which was dedicated to both the Virgin and San Sebastián the patron saint of Adeje.  The image resided here until sometime around 1580 when Pedro de Ponte decided to move the image of the Virgin from the Hermitage to the Church of St. Ursula to protect it from being stolen by invading pirates.  The villagers were not happy with the decision and pledged to bring the image back to its original home every year. The pilgrims also asked Our Lady if they made this annual pilgrimage to protect them from pests, diseases and famines.

Even today, from early Sunday morning, thousands of pilgrims gather at the Church of St. Ursula and at 9 am begin the pilgrimage to the Hermitage of San Sebastián.  There are several stops along the way as the procession makes its way through the streets of the town. The first stop is at the cemetery to remember the deceased and involves musical offerings, poetry and readings from the Bible. The procession continues and follows the traditional Way of the Virgin as the route crosses the motorway and continues over rough ground where traces of the original wagons are said to be still visible.


The last stop is when both the images of La Encarnación and San Sebastián reach the entrance of the Shrine. It is for many, particularly the elderly pilgrims, rather emotional as this means that for yet another year the people of Adeje have kept their promise. This is followed by the celebration of the Eucharist and then like all Tenerife celebrations an informal party.


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