Not Bizet’s Carmen / No Es El Carmen de Bizet

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

WE JUST FINISHED what is commonly known here as the Días del Carmen (Days of Carmen). But, no, I’m not talking about Bizet’s Carmen, the opera that takes place in the tobacco factory (and now the university) of Seville about “fiery gypsy” Carmen and her relationship with naíve soldier Don Jose — although I must admit I like that music better. This is about the Virgin of Carmen (of the Carmelites) and yesterday, 16 July, was her official day.

The Virgin of Carmen is the patron saint of Los Boliches, which is our neighborhood in Fuengirola. More than that, she’s the patron saint of mariners. Men dressed as sailors carry her statue through the streets as the sun sets. The week of celebrations culminates when the virgin is carried into the Mediterranean Sea (her “throne” or “float” floats) to accompanying fireworks. When the sea is calm — as it was last night — the sailors go back and forth in the water and even lift the virgin high above their heads (as you can see in the final photo). It’s our favorite holiday here in Fuengirola. A friendly, celebratory evening among locals and visitors of all ages. Even San Geraldo is on the beach. And that right there is a miracle.


ACABAMOS DE TERMINAR lo que se conoce aquí como los Dias del Carmen. Pero no, no estoy hablando del Carmen de Bizet, la ópera que ocurre en la fábrica de tabaco (ahora, la Universidad) de Sevilla sobre Carmen, la gitana ardiente, y su relación con el soldado ingenuo Don José — aunque debo admitir que me gusta más esa música. Esto es sobre la Virgen del Carmen y ayer, 16 de julio, fue su día oficial.

La Virgen del Carmen es la patrona de Los Boliches, nuestro barrio en Fuengirola. Más que eso, es la santa patrona de los marineros. Hombres vestidos de marineros llevan su estatua por las calles mientras se pone el sol. La semana de celebraciones culmina cuando la virgen se traslada al mar Mediterráneo (el trono flota) para acompañar los fuegos artificiales. Cuando el mar está en calma, como anoche, los marineros van y vienen en el agua e incluso levantan a la virgen por encima de sus cabezas (como podéis ver en la foto final). Es nuestra fiesta favorita aquí en Fuengirola. Una velada amistosa y festiva entre lugareños y visitantes de todas las edades. Incluso San Geraldo está en la playa. Y eso justo ahí es un milagro.


The story of the other Carmen, in a nutshell…
La history de la otra Carmen, en pocas palabras…

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..

16 thoughts on “Not Bizet’s Carmen / No Es El Carmen de Bizet”

  1. That float is obviously very heavy…..all that manpower!
    My mother used to ‘support’ The Carmelites . That would be my only connection to them.
    Looks like a fun time there along the sea.

    1. Jim:
      This is as close as I get to the Carmelites… or religion in general. I try to put it out of my mind when I share this experience. This really is a wonderful fiesta.

  2. I was going to say something about the sailors looking like a conga/chorus line but then I got to the video! That voice came out and I almost made the mistake of turning it off. He’s so gorgeous and sexy that I was mesmerized into watching the whole thing. So glad I did! Where do you find this stuff?

    1. Deedles:
      Isn’t Lars Redlich amazing? I’m always on the lookout for unusual talent and unique takes on well-known songs. He’s German. Sings here in French and Spanish, and appears to speak fluent American English. I’ll find to share more of him (well… if only).

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      That Lars is something else, isn’t he?!? And the sailors sure do cosy up when they march.

    1. larrymuffin:
      There’s always something going on. This is the one we’ve enjoyed the most every year.

    1. Willym:
      What I love about these festivals is the fact that they ARE pagan in origin. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates that. And, yes, Lars is pretty pagan. I’ve been checking out some of his other performances.

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