Día de la Virgen del Carmen celebrated in the coastal towns and villages of Spain

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Virgen del Carmen Day celebrated in the coastal towns and villages of Spain

Día de la Virgen del Carmen is celebrated in the coastal towns and villages of Spain.

The Día de la Virgen del Carmen is celebrated today, Friday July 16, in many coastal towns and villages across Spain. Places as diverse as Almuñecar, on the coast of the province of Granada, and Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife share the festival with many other coastal communities in Andalusia, Murcia, Valencia and Catalonia.

Downward revision

It’s worth checking with your town hall (full list provided) if there are any events in your city going to be happening this year due to covid restrictions.

Fuengirola the city council has canceled all scheduled events planned for the 2021 annual fair in honor of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Los Boliches. This decision has been made “following the recommendations of the Andalusian health authorities”, according to a statement from the town hall.

Due to the pandemic, each of the cities hosting their own celebrations had to adapt the procedures according to their own traditions, while taking into account the strict restrictions of covid.

A brief history of the Virgen del Carmen

The Old Testament prophet Elias, near the end of his life, became a hermit in a cave on Mount Carmelo. Hundreds of years later, pilgrims trying to follow in the footsteps of the prophet, invoked the protection of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmelo – Stella Maris, the Virgin of Carmen. From now on, the Virgin is the patroness and protector of all sailors, fishermen and even divers!

The celebrations vary slightly from city to city. In the city of Malaga, for example, the procession takes place not only on July 16, but the following Sunday. A recent Malaga tradition, started in 1981, shows the Virgen del Carmen embracing all lovers of the sea – including divers. That year, the city’s scuba diving club placed an image of its patron at the bottom of the sea and since then divers have paid their respects underwater every year.

Most Día de la Virgen del Carmen traditions involve at least one parade through town, heading towards the waterfront. Usually, an effigy of the Virgin strewn with flowers is carried through the streets by a group of local fishermen. . When they reach the sea, they are usually greeted by a flotilla of illuminated and decorated boats, all sounding their horns. After prayers for all who are at sea, the statue is then usually taken on a boat, around the local port while fireworks and marching bands accompany its journey.

The Virgin, according to legend, is responsible for keeping the waters around the shore clean and safe; many faithful refused to swim before July 16!

Since 1981, for example, when local divers placed an image of the Virgin on the seabed, part of the tradition in Malaga has involved divers paying homage to their underwater patron. In Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, the doves are released when the Virgin is taken on the boat.

Alicante, Nerja, Estepona, Port de Sóller, Torremolinos and Almería are some of the larger towns that host notable Día de la Virgen del Carmen festivals, as well as smaller places such as La Cala and Rincon de la Victoria near Malaga – all following the same basic procedures.

The days of the Día de la Virgen are among the most important celebrations in Spain, often bringing together visitors and locals who together symbolically recognize the need for protection for “those in peril at the sea”.


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