When outside the Basilica 40.2 degrees of heat were registered – the maximum on the Island this Sunday, according to Aemet -, the bishop of the Nivariense Diocese made an appeal to citizens: «We are not going to rid ourselves of the pandemic by magic». In his homily, Bernardo Álvarez alluded to divine intervention that “illuminates the minds of scientists”, guides doctors to advance in the solution “and gives us all the heads to be responsible” in the fight to return to normality.
In his 23-minute sermon on the day that “the Queen of the Universe is celebrated” – very focused on extolling the importance of the figure of the Virgin, in general, and of the invocation of Candelaria, in particular–, Monsignor made a parallel between the recent Tokyo Olympics and existence, equating the “effort” and “discipline” of the athletes in their preparation “to get the medal” and the passage of each one through this world –With suffering, struggle and pain– “to achieve eternal life.”
The mass at 12:00 (it started on time) was the only face-to-face act of the program on the occasion of the popular festivities in honor of the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands. Candelaria lived, for the second consecutive year, an unusual August 15. As in 2020, the population responded to the call of the authorities not to make a pilgrimage as a measure to fight against the covid. The influx yesterday was somewhat higher than on any Sunday of the year.
The royal house
Five minutes late, at 11:50 a.m., the representative of the king, María Concepción Brito, mayor of Villa Mariana, arrived at the Plaza de la Fuente de los Peregrinos. received with the anthem of Spain by a trumpet of the War Band of the Tenerife 49 Infantry Regiment, with the rendering of honors for the picket present for the occasion of the same regiment. Meanwhile, the parishioners entered the Basilica in an orderly manner and in groups, until the authorized capacity was reached.
A small institutional representation waited next to the main entrance of the temple, like the presidents of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres; from the Parliament, Gustavo Matos, and from the Cabildo of Tenerife, Pedro Martín; the Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, the Chief Lieutenant General of the Canary Islands Command, Carlos Palacios; the mayor of Teror, Sergio Nuez (the only one present at the event), in addition to members of the island and municipal corporations, of the regional Chamber, the chief general of the Civil Guard, Juan Miguel Arribas, representatives of the different armies and the representation of the consular body, in charge of the consul of Guatemala, Alejandro Tosco.
After the departure of the Tenerife 49 Infantry Regiment picket – dismissed with applause and cheers to the army, the Civil Guard, Spain and the Virgin of Candelaria -, the bishop, accompanied by the rector of the Basilica, José Ramón Enjamio, greeted the authorities and the entrance procession of the monsignor and the concelebrants took place through the central aisle. The mass lasted until 1:30 p.m., concluding with the interpretation of the Hymn to the Virgin of Candelaria and a Long Live the Virgin!. The Canarians followed her on Televisión Canaria, 2 on TVE, COPE and Candelaria Radio.
The image of the Patroness of the Canary Islands this year has experienced a popular festival in which the Basilica remained closed throughout the early morning of the 15th, although this time it will remain on display until Sunday in the central nave, near the altar. The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, was convinced that yesterday “will be the last time without pilgrims”, sure that “we are coming out of the pandemic.”
On the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and also through Canary Television, the emotional offering to the Virgin of Candelaria was experienced. Responding to the regional character of this festival, the act –recorded and broadcast last night by Televisión Canaria– came to ratify the union of the Canaries around their Patron.
It began with the ritual sound of the bucios, whistles and drums of La Guanchería. The authorities, led by the mayor of Candelaria, Mari Brito, and the mayor of Teror, twinned municipalities, delivered the food offering – which is intended for families in a situation of social emergency – at the feet of the Morenita, guarded by the collective The Guanches of Candelaria. Together with the local Corporation, the Cabildo de Tenerife, as well as La Guanchería, the organizers of the Athletic Offering, the Candelaria Fishermen and the representative couples of each of the eight Islands, perfectly dressed for the occasion, made their offering.
The most intense moment was registered with the presence, for the first time, of health professionals: María Loreto Barroso, Director of Nursing at the Hospital Universitario de Canarias (HUC); Estefanía Lorenzo, Medical Deputy Director of the Hospital Universitario Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (Hunsc); José Miguel Rodríguez, Manager of Primary Care of Tenerife, and Ramón Pinto, Director of Nursing of Primary Care of Tenerife. The attendees applauded, standing, as a token of appreciation for the work they have developed and are developing in this pandemic. The Venerated Dance Santísima Trinidad de Igueste closed the first part of the act.
From the eight Islands
Music and dances from all over the Canary Islands starred in the second part of a show devised and produced by the Candelaria City Council, in which young voices such as Iván Quintana, Juanma Padrón, Andrea Rodríguez, Khadim Gueye, Valentina González, Verónica Rodríguez, Rayco participated. León and Luz Mila Valerón, from each of the Islands and supported by Chago Melián. The traditional dances were in charge of the groups Acorán, Herederos de Chasna and Añate, dressed in transitional costumes from Tenerife and peasants from all over the Canary Islands.
The Huaracheros were protagonists through their music in the voices of other interpreters: Seven roses, turned into eight for the occasion, by Iván Quintana, opened the meeting and Mi tierra guanche, played by Chago Melián, closed it. Folías a la Virgen, sung by soloists with unpublished lyrics in honor of the Patron Saint, were danced by all three groups at the same time. Seguidillas, mazurcas or isas followed one another, with the sound of the gomeras chácaras, the majoreras limpets or the Herreño drum. In the atmosphere, the moment of Arrorró de Valentina la de Sabinosa stood out, sung on piano by the young woman from El Herrera, Valentina González; Patria querida (Braulio), in the singular voice and passion of Khadim Gueye, a young man from the south of Tenerife; and the Malagueñas del Agua, from Taburiente, danced inside the Fountain of the Pilgrims.
Pepe Dámaso, the town crier for this edition of the feast of the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands, was present at the dance of the malagueña in Fuerteventura. The dancers used the scarves designed by the artist as a symbol of the pilgrims. Graciosera, the work of Mestisay, and the typical hat of the place served as a souvenir of the eighth Island. All of this seasoned with interspersed messages from the mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Augusto Hidalgo; the musicologist Rosario Álvarez, the singer Caco Senante and Pepe Dámaso.
The mayor of Candelaria, Mari Brito, thanked the pilgrims for understanding and respecting the restrictions: “We hope to receive you with the same enthusiasm and with the same faith during the rest of the year. I reiterate my gratitude to the media that have worked closely with the Consistory to bring the Patroness closer to all homes and to the forces and security forces that have contributed to making this celebration safer and prevention measures are followed. ”