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El Rocio Festival & Pilgrimage

Updated on November 5, 2015
El Rocio Festival & Pilgrimage is visited by more than 1 million people
El Rocio Festival & Pilgrimage is visited by more than 1 million people

El Rocio Map

A
El Rocio, Andalucia Spain:
Romería de El Rocío, 21750 Almonte, Spain

get directions

The Spanish women dress up in their colorful flamenco dresses
The Spanish women dress up in their colorful flamenco dresses
The wagons carrying the Madonna Characters are called Simpecados and they are produced in silver or gold
The wagons carrying the Madonna Characters are called Simpecados and they are produced in silver or gold

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!


If you have dreamed of flamenco dresses sice you were a little girl - El Rocio is the place to make your dream come true
If you have dreamed of flamenco dresses sice you were a little girl - El Rocio is the place to make your dream come true

Spanish Festival - El Rocio

El Rocio is normally a small quiet village
El Rocio is normally a small quiet village

Mosquito-Territory

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!

The lake in El Rocio is home to Flamingoes and MOSQUITOES
The lake in El Rocio is home to Flamingoes and MOSQUITOES
El Rocio before the pilgrims arrive
El Rocio before the pilgrims arrive
Jacaranda Trees in El Rocio
Jacaranda Trees in El Rocio
Ermita de Nuestra Senora (The Church of Our Lady)
Ermita de Nuestra Senora (The Church of Our Lady)

Comments

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    • A Dane in Spain profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorte Holm Jensen 

      8 years ago from Torrox, Malaga. Spain

      It is a fantastic experience. Glad you liked the pictures.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Wonderful photos, and thanks for sharing information about this fascinating place and event! I'd love to go there and experience a bit of a time-machine-effect as you describe. Very cool!

    • A Dane in Spain profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorte Holm Jensen 

      8 years ago from Torrox, Malaga. Spain

      Thanks to KnowledgeSpeaks and "Enjoy" to PFranz - Just remember your mosquito ammunition!

    • PFranz profile image

      PFranz 

      8 years ago

      El Rocio has just been added to my ever-growing list of places to go.

    • KnowledgeSpeaks profile image

      KnowledgeSpeaks 

      8 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Great hub! Takes me right there. I love the flamenco dresses. Flamenco is one of my favorite dances. I have a friend who directs her own flamenco studio. Too bad about the mosquitos.

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