Photos: Adeje Ayuntamiento.
It’s a sight to behold, and for the Adeje faithful, walking the statue of the Virgin Mary along the old path from the top of Adeje town to La Caleta is the fulfillment of a promise made generations ago, as well as a modern opportunity to celebrate the coming together of the people of the town.
The annual Rogativa de la Virgen de la Encarnación (Supplication of the Virgin of the Incarnation) takes place on the third Sunday of Easter, namely two Sundays after Easter Sunday, and so in 2019 will be held on Sunday 5 May. It will start around 9am with the procession leaving Santa Úrsula Church at the top of Adeje town and accompanying the statue of the Virgin of the Incarnation down to the hermitage of San Sebastián in La Caleta. This was her first home, and the tradition of returning her to her origins began in the 16th century when her statue was moved from San Sebastián to Santa Úrsula to protect it from pirates.
The residents promised that they would take her home once a year, and so they have, with the tradition persisting over the last five hundred years or so. The people of Adeje also use the event to make promises to their patron saint in return for her protection from plagues, illness, famines – evidence of the success of the agreement is listed in the Book of Miracles of Our Lady of the Incarnation, which can be viewed in Adeje’s parish archives.
The event is always packed, and this year will be no different. Local security will be on on hand to assist if anyone needs it. Among those who will be carrying the statue will be the Porteadores de la Virgin and the Mujeres Adejeras con la Virgin, who take part every year and are now an integral part of the event.
The walk takes up to four hours to complete with a number of stops along the way where there will be musical, poetic and liturgical interventions. The first will be at Adeje Cemetery, where the departed are remembered. The procession then crosses the bridge over the motorway (expect minor traffic delays if you are driving at this time), and carries on to the second stop at the Portón de la Virgin, the stone arch on the La Caleta road parallel to the TF1 opposite the village of Fañabé.
The third break will be at La Era where walkers can also rest for a while before the last stretch of the walk which will see the statue received by Saint Sebastian, Adeje’s other patron saint. The two statues enter the church together where mass will be celebrated. The statue of the Virgin will return to Adeje later that afternoon.
As with many of Adeje’s religious festivals this is also a family event, open to everyone, resident and visitor, to take part. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, use an appropriate sun block and take water with you.