The Virgin of Rocío

The Romería de El Rocío has begun. Pilgrims are traveling from all over Spain (and Europe) to meet in the little town of Rocío at the Hermitage of El Rocío. It’s about 78 km (47 miles) southwest of Sevilla. I was up at 7:30 (gasp) to see everyone off, but mostly to take pictures and witness the departure. It took me about 10 minutes to walk from our house and cross the bridge into Triana; let’s call it my pilgrimage.

GOING MY WAY? THE FIRST VEHICLE I SAW AFTER WALKING ACROSS THE BRIDGE.

The group from Sevilla set off from Triana around 10:00 this morning, Wednesday. They are expected to have all arrived in Rocío by midnight Saturday. Pilgrims walk; drive; ride horseback; ride in carts pulled by oxen, mules, tractors… you name it. Each procession is led by a paso carrying an emblem of the Immaculate Conception.

SOME PROMINENT INDIVIDUALS ESCORTING THE PASO.
MY FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE PASO.
(THE GREEN HAT BANDS ARE IMPRINTED WITH THE NAME “TRIANA.”)

Just about everyone I saw wore a medallion of the Virgin. Some were simple, some were grand. Some were new and some had been handed down for generations. The procession began on Triana’s large pedestrian street Calle San Jacinto, but soon turned left into the narrow Calle San Jorge and continued around the bend onto Calle de Castilla passing the Callejon de la Inquisición on its way.  The street quickly became clogged with pilgrims and onlookers. It was a claustrophobe’s nightmare. (I’m glad San Geraldo wasn’t there.)

 I WONDER HOW MANY PILGRIMAGES THEY’VE SEEN PASS.

The paso stopped for about 15 minutes in front of the historic church (built between 1697 and 1702), Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la O (I  have absolutely no idea what “the O” is and I can only imagine where some readers’ minds will go), on Calle de Castilla, where it was blessed with flower petals thrown from church balconies. Tribute songs were sung, a cheer was led, and then the procession got into full swing.

THE FLOWER PETALS.

I was trapped in the crowd during the musical/floral interlude and I was grateful to be tall enough to be able to reach my arms above the heads of the people around me so I could take pictures. The motorized vehicles all waited on the edge of Triana for the paso, the marchers, the horses, and the ox carts to reach them. Then, everyone took off.

LOLA IN TRAVELING CLOTHES (NO HEELS THIS WEEK.)
A BEER BREAK BEFORE THE CROWD CATCHES UP.

Alex waited with the car. Albert, Lola, and some family and friends walked with the crowds until they reached him. Then, everyone but Lola drove off. Lola will not get back in the car until Saturday! The back of the car was filled with food and drink, so Lola will be well-fed and hydrated for her 78-km walk.

  
KIND OF THE WAY SAN GERALDO’S ANCESTORS TRAVELED TO DAKOTA TERRITORY.
(BUT NOT QUITE…)

WAGON TRAIN?

AND NOW THE PARTY STARTS.

I THINK I’D RATHER WALK.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

19 thoughts on “The Virgin of Rocío”

  1. The patronage of the O, comes from some old litanies (jaculatorias) dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Or Queen of Heaven, Or Mother of God, Or redeeming our … etc. and then stayed the O. in inglish would be, The Virgin of the OR

    Do I think that Lola would you go to the Rocio?

    A hug and Viva La Blanca Paloma

  2. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them. That's quite a trek for folks. I can see those pink covered wagons going across the plains of the U.S., bringing Jerry's family to the Dakotas.

  3. Great photos Mitch! And yet another procession….I tell you that Spaniards are guaranteed first row seats in heaven!

    1. Jim:
      And interestingly, Jim, I've had no one who participates indicate to me that they think they're going to heaven and I'm not. Just imagine the fiestas the Spaniards will have in heaven!

  4. I got a chuckle out of the fru-fru wagon train. It seems like the unending religious parades and festivals would get to be burdensome to the Sevilla's civilians. Like, how many parties can a person stand! There's something to be said for stodgy old St. Paul.

    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      You're right. Some of our local friends have no interest, but for many it's just a great excuse to get out and celebrate and see friends and neighbors. As for "stodgy old St. Paul," given that you can experience 6 to 8 months of winter every year (OK, maybe an exaggeration), it might discourage daily outdoor festivals. (Have you noticed many Spaniards immigrating to Minnesota over the years?) Anyway, you know you'd love the daily parties!

  5. Those wagons seem to be more in place at a gay pride parade in Wyoming or South Dakota. lol

    saludos,
    raulito

    1. Mark:
      I would love to go back and visit with them. Can you imagine what they've seen and experienced in Spain over all their years? The Civil War, the fascist dictatorship, brand-new democracy… We have a friend who happens to live in that beautiful old building. It's filled with shared patio gardens that their own little community group takes care of, and it backs onto the river. It's really charming. I wonder if our friend knows the woman behind the gate.

  6. I am bowled over every time I read your blog entries, Mitchell… and the comments and your responses! I love your sense of humor and find this never-ending processional fixation of the Spaniards in your area to be fascinating. I think that our Pride parade this year here in St. Louis (in about a month, I think?) ought to borrow these fabulously festooned carts. It would be a great time for all!

  7. wow what pagentry ! This is just the sort of rutilent display I adore but my protestant relatives abhor as idolotry and papist nonsense. But oooh, such spectacle !

Share your thoughts and experiences. It's always nice to know I'm not alone.