El Rocio Festival & Pilgrimage
El Rocio Map
El Rocio Romeria
El Rocio is normally a quiet village but once a year the village transforms into an undulating sea of people. The yearly El Rocio Romeria or pilgrimage attracts more than one million people.
Every spring people from all over Spain gather in El Rocio, on the border of Doñana National Park, between Seville and Huelva, for the largest romeria or pilgrimage in Andalusia. The word "romeria" occurred because pilgrims traditionally walked to Rome, and therefore they became known under the name "Romero".
Many people travel for days to participate in the worshipping of the "Madonna of the Dew". They gather in the flat marshlands of the Guadalquivir River delta (south of Almonte), where the statue of the "Madonna of the Dew" has been worshipped since 1280.
Every late May, or early June - to be precise: the weekend before Pentecost Monday, the seventh weekend after Easter people start to arrive on friday.
Various Catholic Fraternals from all corners of Andalucia are traveling with their own "Virgin" from their local church. They come from near and far, on horseback, in overcrowded horse carts or ox-drawn carts. They come with wagons decorated – gypsy style. The women are dressed in stunning flamenco dresses and the men are dressed in leather boots and hats Western-style.
The trip can take days, and each night they camp along the way and dance, sing and party - and consume oceans of vino ... The songs they sing tell stories from the journey, about life, about love and the love for the "Camino" - the way to El Rocio.
The streets of el Rocio are sandy as The Wild West and old cowboy movies, and in front of all houses and bars are wooden bars where you can tie your horse.
El Rocio is much more than a religious celebration!
Spanish Festival - El Rocio
Mosquito Net Shelter
A couple of years back I visited the El Rocio Romeria with my fiancé, and it was fantastic. It felt like time had been turned back a couple of hundred years. It was hot and dusty, and even though bars and restaurants was in plenty supply, there wasn't one bar too many to keep the dry dust from your throat.
It was marvelous to watch all the women in colorful flamenco dresses, cowboys on horses and all the decorated gypsy wagons.
As it was a spontaneous idea, and not planned in advance, we didn't even try to get a hotel. (If you plan to go: book your accommodation way in advance). We just geared the van up with a madras in the back, a mosquito-net and off we went.
Even though we had ammunition to fight a war with the mosquitoes, we surrendered when the only place left to park was by the lake. We quickly realized this was Mosquito-territory, and we packed up and drove down to the sea. Straight through the National Park and down to Costa de La Luz - The Coast of light. We had a wonderful refreshing swim and a good nights sleep.
If you think that there is such a thing as being too small to matter - you have never been to bed with a mosquito!
Want To Know More About El Rocio?
- Check The Dates of The Next El Rocio Festival
The Roco Pilgrimage is the most famous in the region, attracting nearly a million people from across Andalucia and the entire country. This is a tradition...
- El Rocio Festival
El Rocio is the largest pilgrimage in Spain in which over a million people make their way to the small shrine in Huelva every spring.
- El Rocio Pilgrimage
Information about the festivals, fairs and ferias of Andaluca, Southern Spain.
- Hermitage of El Roco
The Hermitage of El Roco (Spanish: Ermita del Roco or Ermita de El Roco) is a hermitage at El Roco in the countryside of Almonte, Province of Huelva, Andalusia, Spain.
More by this Author
What to do on a Monday night at Torrox Costa? Jam session at Casa Maria - Torrox Live Music bar. Get directions to Casa Maria here.
Andalucia can be a life changing experience. Read the first part of The Andalusian Mania, where a single Danish mother moves to rural Southern Spain with her teenager daughter.
How to dry figs in the sun. Make your own dried figs for Christmas.