24 February, 2012

Our Lady of Candelaria

We saw the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria, which was built in 1526 and the Black Madonna is worshiped there. There is a story behind this Madonna. Before the Spanish arrived the original inhabitants, the Guanche, lived in Tenerife. The Madonna washed up on the shores and when the Guanche tried to destroy it, they were paralyzed. Eventually the Madonna was placed in a cave and was considered the protector of the island, healing and helping the helpless. When the Spanish conquered the island, the Guanche were considered Christians, because they worshiped this black lady.  So the Basilica was built and many make a pilgrimage to the church.
The Madonna, which is very hard to see.

When the statue washed up on the shore, the Madonna was holding a baby in one hand and a candle in the other. Thus the name Candelaria. 

This is a picture of the Madonna, not much better really
It is not like any church I have seen in Europe. But it is quite pretty. And it is very modern looking. 

The weather has been cold and windy. Occasionally the sun comes out and warms things up. 

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