All the cemeteries of La Laguna experienced a Tuesday of great influx yesterday on the occasion of the eve of All Souls’ Day. This was the case in the best-known cemeteries, such as those of San Luis and San Juan, and in the three in the Northeast Region. One of them is that of Tejina, whose origins date back to 1837, so that currently, and among those that are still in use, it is one of the oldest in Tenerife.
Already from the outside of the Tejina cemetery it was possible to verify that it was not just any day. As happened in other cemeteries of the municipality, there were many who went there to honor their deceased relatives. In this case it was basically tejineros and former residents of this town in the Northeast Region who wanted to be present at this day of memories and tradition.
Although less known than those of San Luis and San Juan, it so happens that this cemetery is very old. This is indicated by the historian and ex-lagunero councilor Juan Luis Herrera in the article The cemetery of San Sebastián de Tejina: historical justification of his name, published on the Fuentes de Tejina website. In this research he places its origins in the first half of the 19th century. «The current cemetery of the town of Tejina dates from the year 1837, being called from its beginnings as the cemetery of San Sebastián, due to the fact that it had been built on the land where, since the year 1625, a hermitage dedicated to the dedication of the protomartyr had been built. San Sebastián”, he exposes.
The town of Tejina had the first cemetery that was built in the Northeast Region
«The new remodeled cemetery was blessed by Bishop Fray Albino on November 19, 1939, according to a document contained in the book of deaths in the parish of San Bartolomé,” he says. «Our cemetery is one of the oldest that is still in use, together with those of the municipalities of Puerto de la Cruz (1811) and La Orotava (1823), but, without a doubt, we can affirm that it was the first to be built in the Region”, is collected in the text.
The axis of this work by Herrera, published in 2020, is the defense of its name as San Sebastián Cemetery. He argues in this regard: «(…) because it is located in the place where the hermitage of the protomartyr San Sebastián was erected in the year 1625, and that it was the place chosen to build the Tejina cemetery in 1837, when the floor of the parish had collapsed and there was no room for more burials, conserving the hermitage of San Sebastián as an integral part of the cemetery itself». And he adds: “Since that date, the Tejina cemetery appears in different parish documents with the name of Cemetery of San Sebastián, as well as the public space that is in front of it as a plaza or square of San Sebastián.”
Visits before and after
At mid-morning, in the rest of the cemeteries of the municipality there was also quite a lot of activity. There were those who advanced the visit and placement of flowers to the previous days, and especially last weekend, but this Tuesday many people gathered in the other four facilities of this type: San Luis, the largest; San Juan, already closed to burials; San Gregorio, in Punta del Hidalgo, and Valle de Guerra.
It was also a day marked by music. And it is that one of the particularities that have been taking place in recent years in La Laguna is the musical setting. As they had explained from the City Council, groups formed for the occasion by members of the municipal music bands would be in charge of acting at different times, interpreting a repertoire of themes alluding to the day.
Musical performances set this day in the graveyards of the municipality
Among the visitors to the San Luis Cemetery was Carmen Rosa Pérez, who went with her sister and her niece to this appointment with her relatives who have passed away. She is a resident of the Santa Cruz municipality, although she was born in La Laguna, she explained that she has some relatives buried there and that she likes to “comply”. Another testimony is that of Juan Pérez, 70 years old: «We bought some flowers yesterday and we came today to bring them. We would have liked to arrive earlier to avoid queues and parking problems, but within what is possible there is not as much fuss as I expected ».
Atmosphere also typical of these days in the cemetery of San Juan, in the neighborhood of the same name. As with Tejina, it is one of the facilities of this type with the longest history in all of Tenerife. It is estimated that some 55,000 people rest there, including names from local history and those who died in the accident of the jumbo jets in Los Rodeos, the greatest tragedy in commercial aviation. It also recently received the mortal remains of the Canarian scientist Blas Cabrera, considered the father of Spanish Physics, who arrived from his exile in Mexico.