At 12:00 noon the sky of The Realejos it was covered enough to facilitate the pilgrimage of hundreds of realejeros dressed in the typical clothing of the Canary Islands – most dressed in the traditional costume of La Orotava – to the Santiago Apóstol church. The Eucharist that was celebrated there became the meeting point for thousands of people who visited the municipality after three years, to resume one of the most important celebrations of the May festivities: the pilgrimage in honor of San Isidro Labrador.
Los Realejos has been one of the first municipalities to resume one of the most anticipated popular festivals by the Canarian population after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. covid-19. Until now, it has been possible to celebrate the one in Valle de Guerra (in the middle of the month) and also some smaller pilgrimages in other municipalities of the island.
More than a hundred carts have been set up to retrace the winding and steep streets of Realejas. The car adorned with a large magician’s hat, called El Castañero, is one of them. “Go Go; It has to warm up before it starts », Daniel Hernández Carmona yells at his father, who is trying to start that vehicle that has given them so many awards in recent editions of this festivity. “Up to five first and second prizes we have already won,” explains Hernández.
More than a hundred carts have been set up to go back through the winding and steep streets of Realejas
Inside it keeps enough food to feed its own “until you drop from exhaustion”, as well as to invite those who come to the celebration without actively participating in it. Hard-boiled eggs, gofio pellets, beautiful potatoes, popcorn and bread with dog sausage they are the delicacies to which pilgrims resort the most. Some take advantage of the rear space of the cart to set up an improvised barbecue where they can roast meat; and most have enough fresh wine to be able to combat the hot midday sun, which is already making its way and will characterize the day until the end of the celebration.
There is no cart without a story behind it. This is the case of Javier Hernández, in which more than a hundred people gathered to eat and drink. The cart arrived in 2008 from Andalusia and no one really knows how. Already there it was used pulled by oxen and in Los Realejos it will be no less. However, this year they are only one of the few that can be pulled by these animals, given that “this year the carts pulled with cattle have been limited,” he explains. New technologies have been essential to organize such a large entourage, such as that of this group. “We have organized ourselves thanks to whatsapp and bizum,” says Hernández, who does not hide the emotion of being able to meet again with his family in this traditional festivity. “We really wanted to, although not celebrating it did not affect us on a mental level, we did need to go back to it,” he highlights.
The Sabinosa Folkloric Group kicks off the Romero walk
And it is that the Pilgrimage of Los Realejos – the first to be held after the pandemic – has a meaning beyond the simple celebration and the moment of relaxation. It is also a family meeting point. “Several generations are here,” explains Manuel Mosgán, while watching over his five-year-old grandson who has decided to get on the old tractor converted into a cart to move the steering wheel as if it were a racing driver.
Members of the Sabinosa Folkloric Group were not absent from the expected meeting. The herreños, as is tradition, were in charge of giving the starting signal to the pilgrimage promenade that had provoked so much anticipation. The Herreño tajaraste danced in perfect harmony by fifty people to the sound of the chácaras, the drum and the transverse flute, is the harmony that confirms the return of Canarian traditions.