Pilgrimage of the Dew

Pilgrimage of the Dew

May-June; Friday before Pentecost toTuesday following
This colorful procession, known as the Romería del Rocío, or Pilgrimage of the Dew, begins during the week preceding Whitsunday, or Pentecost, in towns and villages of Andalusia, Spain. The pilgrims' destination is the church of El Rocío in Almonte, Huelva, where a small statue of the Virgin known as La Blanca Paloma ("the White Dove") resides. They travel in two-wheeled, white-hooded farm carts, drawn by oxen wearing bells, flowers, and ribbon streamers. Some of the carts are set up as moving shrines to the Virgin, and the pilgrims themselves are dressed in regional costumes.
On Pentecost, the pilgrims file past the church of El Rocío and pay homage to La Blanca Paloma. There are fireworks at midnight, followed by dancing and singing until dawn. On Monday, the image of the Virgin is carried in solemn procession through the streets of Almonte. Being chosen to bear the statue on one's shoulders is considered a special privilege, eagerly sought by those who wish to receive special indulgence during the coming year. The procession is accompanied by the chanting of priests and the shouts of the pilgrims, who call out "Viva la Blanca Paloma!" as they wend their way through the town.
CONTACTS:
Oficina de Turismo Huelva
Avda. de Alemania 12
Huelva, 21001 Spain
34-959-257-403; fax: 34-959-257-403
www.andalucia.org
SOURCES:
FestWestEur-1958, p. 196