August 15, Feast Of Chaxiraxi

On Sunday 15, our islands will be celebrating the feast of Our Lady Of Candelaria, patroness of the whole archipielago. Our Lady is the Catholic syncretization of Chaxiraxi, the Guanche Mother Goddess, and one of the Black Madonnas of Spain.

Her main church (the Basilica), built on the city that bears her name, is placed on the exact same area where she was worshipped by the Guanches. This celebration happened at the end of August’s harvest festival, the Beñesmer, which usually coincides with the Perseid Meteor Showers, and other important astronomical events.

While this year, because of Covid-related restrictions, pilgrimage has been forbidden and the church will remain closed, on regular years people walk all through the night of the 14th through several traditional routes, to reach her sanctuary on the dawn of the 15th. Pilgrims also come from other islands, from mainland Spain, and even from other countries.

Along the entire day, there are parades, reconstructions of Guanche history and customs, and of course lots of partying, dancing, drinking, and eating, all in her honour. This is not a small celebration – the regular estimate of pilgrims is between 100.000 (one hundred thousand) to 150.000 (one hundred and fifty thousand) people!!!

I worship Chaxiraxi every single day of my life, as the main Goddess in my altar, and as one of the faces of pre-islamic Goddess Allat, mother of all North Africans – crowds are not for me, so I don’t participate in this event, but of course, this weekend we will be making special offerings to her at home, and showing her how much we love her!

In the pic, her statue at the Basilica, taken last year. Isn’t she gorgeous?

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My Website: Tarot, Spellwork, and Spiritual Services

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