After the ringing of bells and the sound of the bucio, Güímar is already celebrating the El Socorro festivities, which were proclaimed yesterday by José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, who begins his tenth term as mayor of Adeje. From the atrium of the San Pedro parish, the Adejero socialist spoke about the festivals, the Virgin and what Güímar came to mean as a stop and inn to the south.
Rodríguez Fraga did not want to begin the proclamation without launching a message of solidarity “with those who have suffered the consequences of the voracious fire that has devastated our mountains”, highlighting “the pain for the damage caused to our ecosystem” and “the gratitude and recognition to groups, public servants, volunteers and all those, with so much generosity and sacrifice, have worked to put out the fire and protect people and their property. Gratitude also goes to the Virgin of Socorro, for the absence of personal misfortunes in which the protective hand of the Mother can be guessed,” he noted.
After reading some verses to the Virgin as a preamble, the crier explored the links and relationships that “around traditions and devotions like this are established between our peoples” (in reference to Adeje and Güímar). “As an Adeje,” he said, “I want to point out two links between my town and what is celebrated here: The presence in Adeje of the enigmatic image of the Candelaria, for some a faithful copy of the original that the Guanches venerated, for others, the same original . And, on the other hand, the ancient devotion to the Virgen del Socorro in the hermitage of Santa Margarita in Taucho, which, according to Dr. Carmen Rosa Pérez, could be linked to the Güimarero Andrés Llerena (Guanche de Güímar), married to Doña María de Lugo, daughter of the last mencey of Adeje (1530).”
For the mayor of Adeje, “Güímar is the Menceyato and, later, the town predestined to be the place of that meeting that opened us to evangelization and Christian culture… and to faith that has fulfilled the task well and faithfully. In my first evocation, Güímar is the oasis where we stopped at the inn to regain strength on those endless trips to the capital along the old southern highway… It was the city of the South.”
He continued saying that “my second evocation is the Güímar of the mystery… the magical Güímar of Chimisay, Chinguaro, the Barranco de Badajoz, Las Pirámides or the black Christ of San Juan. “Perhaps an encrypted message whose keys escape us.”
And he ended by talking about the festival: “El Socorro is not just another festival of the many that we celebrate in our towns. Socorro is something else. El Socorro transcends the local and the immediate in its symbolism and in its rites. Once old and obsolete rivalries have been overcome, it is part of what Candelaria means to Tenerife and the Canary Islands, which not only does not compete with other expressions, but rather enriches what the candelariero complex is and which the güimareros generously guard. Maybe that’s why someone defined the Socorro pilgrimage to me as the party in which no one feels strange… Open-door party. With outstretched hands. With a table set… And that is why today I want to add my voice as a preacher to those who claim it as the heritage of the people of Tenerife, of the Canaries.” “With the margin of legitimacy that you have granted me as a crier to announce, exalt and sing this festival, I summon you, encourage you and invite you to celebrate and live them with the fervor, joy and civility that made them famous inside and outside. Long live the Virgin of Socorro. Preached,” he concluded.