One of the best things about living in the European Union are you can just get in a car for a couple hours and you’re in an entirely new country, with an entirely new culture. For this road trip, are you up for an exhilarating and enjoyable adventure in Spain? Now gather your belongings, don your cowboy hat, and come with me to El Rocio! It’s only a 90 minute drive from the border of Portugal which makes it well worth the drive for the memories you’re going to have which will last you a lifetime.
Are you a Clint Eastwood fan? Ever heard of a move called Fistful of dollars? How about The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? They were all filmed here in El Rocio. Likely because it feels a lot like your stepping back in time, it is very reminiscent of the wild west. The streets are sand and the bars have places outside to tie up your horse. Speaking of which, you won’t find any cars here, horses and buggies are the only mode of transportation here. But we’re not here to talk about the famous actors and movies filmed here, we’re here to talk about this very famous Spanish pilgrimage.
In the southwest of Spain, in the province of Huelva, is the little village of El Rocio. It is well-known for the yearly pilgrimage that draws thousands of people from all around Spain and beyond. The Virgen del Rocio, the town’s patron saint, is honoured during the Pentecost holiday weekend pilgrimage.
The journey is an extraordinary event that is unlike anything else you have ever experienced. Hundreds of pilgrims congregate in the town square to honour the Virgin while dressed in traditional Andalusian garb. The energy is palpable as music, dancing, and singing fill the room. In the vibrant tents that line the streets, pilgrims spend the night eating, drinking, and mingling.
The Virgin’s procession is one of the pilgrimage’s centrepieces. The Mary statue is removed from the church and carried by pilgrims through the town’s streets on their shoulders. Several pilgrims are crying and praying at this poignant time as they proceed towards the statue.
But, the journey is about more than just religion. Also, it is a time to celebrate and have fun. Food carts offering typical Andalusian fare like gazpacho, paella, and grilled sardines line the streets. Also, there are lots of taverns and cafes where you may sample regional wines and beers.
The town comes to life at night with dancing and music. Several of the tents host their own music and dancing events, and there are concerts and shows in the town square. Everyone is having a good time and being joyful in the upbeat mood.
You must dress appropriately if you want to participate in the fun. It is essential to dress in the typical Andalusian garb, which includes a hat with a large brim, a colourful scarf, and a shawl with fringes. The women wear long, flowing dresses, and the men wear tight-fitting trousers and short jackets.
If you don’t have the appropriate attire, though, don’t worry. In El Rocio, there are several stores that sell traditional clothing, and many of the tents also rent out apparel.
Are you now prepared to participate in the pilgrimage in El Rocio? It is an adventure of a lifetime, bursting with happiness, music, and celebration. Plus, you have to dress up to fit in, and that’s half the fun. Don’t pass up the opportunity to take part in this extraordinary and unforgettable experience! Best time to arrive is May 26-28th in 2023, you can find a hotel in Matalascañas and take a shuttle to the events.