More than a million people and close to one hundred different brotherhoods enjoy the wonderful festive atmosphere of this pilgrimage to the village of El Rocío.
The celebration combines religion and fiesta, and is held 50 days after Easter. Hundreds of thousands of people come from all over Spain, and even abroad, to make this annual pilgrimage to the Blanca Paloma Shrine in the village of El Rocío, 17 kilometres from the town of Almonte (Huelva province).
Over the week before, the different Rocío brotherhoods set out from their bases in Huelva, Seville, and Cadiz, amongst other provinces, in order to get to the village of El Rocío by the Saturday, and to enjoy the events which run through to the Monday. The most traditional way to do the pilgrimage is on horseback, by carriage or on foot, dressed in flamenco clothing. By day, the brotherhoods advance in festive spirits, singing flamenco, while by night they camp out and organise parties around the bonfire with singing, dancing, food and drink into the early hours. There are four main routes: the Sanlúcar route, which runs through the Doñana National Park and is used by those coming from the province of Cadiz; the Los Llanos route, which runs from Almonte - this is the oldest one; the Moguer route, used by those coming from Huelva province; the Seville route - this is the most popular route with other brotherhoods from Spain and abroad.
As they arrive in the village of El Rocío, pilgrims pitch their camps and await the arrival of the remaining brotherhoods. On the Saturday there is a parade where they present themselves with the simpecado (the association's standard) before the statue of the Virgin Mary, while the church bells ring. On the Sunday there are various religious acts and that night nobody sleeps, in anticipation of the weekend's most exciting moment: the “jumping the fence”, when the people of Almonte jump over the fence to bring the statue of the Virgin out of the shrine and parade it around the village on Monday morning. Once the procession is over, the brotherhoods start the return journey with their minds already on next year's pilgrimage.
Festivity of International Tourist Interest
From May 18, 2013 to May 20, 2013
* Information may be subject to modifications
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