In a festival that dates back several hundred years, many coastal towns and fishing villages in Spain celebrate the Fiesta del Día de Virgen del Carmen as the protector of mariners and fishermen.
Every year around 16th July, spectacular maritime processions of decorated fishing boats known as jabegas head out to sea carrying their precious cargo – an effigy of the Virgen del Carmen, to bless their fishing grounds.
The vessels, many decorated with brightly coloured flags and bunting, each crowded with people, gather under the late dusk sky patiently waiting for the official party of sailors, fishermen, clergy and authorities to bring the Statue of the Virgin on board the boat that will lead the procession.
But before that, the Virgen del Carmen is paraded through the streets for all to see. There is an air of excitement with people surging forward for the best views as the parade passes by, before making its way to the water´s edge.
Celebrations vary slightly from town to town along the coast, east of Málaga. In La Caleta de Vélez the parade is held each year on the feast day of the Virgen del Carmen, 16th July. Some towns and villages celebrate the following weekend, but there will be posters displayed in local shops, announcing the day and time, if you want to join in the festivities.
My photographs show last year´s celebrations in La Caleta de Vélez, situated at the mid-coastal point of La Axarquía region.
In the video below, you can see the festivities held in 2011 in the town of Torre del Mar, just along the coast from La Caleta de Vélez.
Which is your favourite Spanish festival or fiesta?
Whilst you´re here, why not have a look at the following articles too?
Queen of the Seas: Virgen del Carmen
The heart of Cómpeta: El Paseo de las Tradiciones
Patatas a lo pobre: Poor man´s potatoes
Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour