Another year without pilgrimage but with the same fervor to San Roque. Like every August 16, Garachico paid tribute to his patron saint yesterday. However, it was not with the massive pilgrimage attended by thousands of pilgrims who take him in procession from the hermitage of San Roque to the parish of Santa Ana, where he is received with a ‘Viva San Roquito’ to later celebrate the high mass. .
For the second consecutive year there was no procession or party in the street, but it was demonstrated that the devotion to San Roque is still alive in the Villa and Puerto. Hundreds of faithful arrived there from other municipalities who did not want to stop visiting the Saint even if it was in compliance with the restrictions set by Covid-19.
One of them, in addition to the mask, was to celebrate Holy Mass in the church of Santa Ana and not in the hermitage that bears the name of the Saint, because it is very small and it would be impossible to meet the allowed capacity. Already last year the parish priest made the decision to transfer his image to the mother church of the municipality and it will be there until conditions allow it.
“I hope it will be as soon as possible because that will indicate that things are returning to normal,” declared the mayor, José Heriberto González, who “hurts another year not being able to enjoy the party as always and people have taken a lot of interest in it because his feelings are on the surface and he longs to be able to do it, even if the reason is more than justified ”.
The president confessed “it seemed that this summer was going to be more favorable, nobody thought that we were going to be experiencing a situation similar to that of 2020 or perhaps worse in terms of the number of infections. This indicates that it is necessary to be prudent still within the ignorance that we all have about how this disease evolves ”.
Mix of devotees with bathers
The intense heat that reigned yesterday in Tenerife caused the pilgrims to mix with the people who wanted to take advantage of the natural charms that the municipality has, such as the pools of El Caletón, to take a good bath. Thus, hundreds of people dressed in their typical costume and carrying sticks with colored ribbons, a distinctive that characterizes pilgrims, a water gourd and a mask, approached the church from early morning to listen to the first Eucharist of the day – that of the pilgrims – the Tajaraste a San Roque, which a group of people sing to him every year, even if it was from the outside.
In the afternoon, the beach of the old pier and El Caletón had reached the limit of the allowed capacity in these times of pandemic.
The absence of pilgrimage did not prevent either a festive atmosphere in the municipality. Balconies, facades and streets were adorned for the occasion, with characteristic elements of the festival, such as Canarian drafts and images of the Saint.
Everything pointed out that this year the situation was going to be more favorable in terms of the advance of the pandemic and there was a lot of hope in the Villa and Puerto to do more things but in the end it could not be. The tradition that marks going out to the street dressed as a magician to get on the cart, pour a glass of wine and eat meat and other delicacies of the earth was replaced by that of living the party from home and through social networks and not for that reason less emotional.
One of the most anticipated events was the tribute to the Romeras Mayores, which took place on Friday and which also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Traditions. There it was possible to see 39 of the 55 older Romaras who have been elected throughout these six decades. The musical point was put by the group Pieles with their show Piel con piel.
In the same context, a small tribute was included to Ubaldo Hernández, recently deceased, who has been a key person in the maintenance of traditional Canarian clothing and a regular contributor to the Garachican festivities.
We have to wait another 365 days to see if San Roque, patron saint of pilgrims and those infected by epidemics and other infectious diseases, can go out again in procession and pilgrimage and have in 2022 his well-deserved tribute to the loud cry of ‘Viva San Roquito’ .