What to Expect at the El Rocio Festival

What is El Rocio Festival?

The El Rocío Festival, also known as the Romería del Rocío, is one of the most significant religious and cultural events in Spain. It takes place annually in the town of El Rocío, located in the province of Huelva in Andalusia, southern Spain. The festival attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the country and even abroad.

Coming just after the end of the numerous and vibrant celebrations for the Semana Santa and the Feria de Abril.

The El Rocío Festival is centered around the veneration of the Virgen del Rocío (Virgin of El Rocío), the patron saint of Almonte, a nearby town. The festival combines elements of both Catholicism and traditional folklore, creating a unique and vibrant celebration. It is deeply rooted in Spanish history and culture and has been taking place for centuries.

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What will you see during the festival?

During the festival, pilgrims, often dressed in traditional attire, embark on a journey to the hermitage of El Rocío. They travel on foot, on horseback, or in traditional horse-drawn carriages called “carretas”. The pilgrimage typically begins on the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday and reaches its peak on Monday morning with the “Salto de la reja” (Leap of the Fence). This is a moment when the fervent devotees try to touch or kiss the Virgen del Rocío’s statue, which is housed in the hermitage.

The procession of the Virgin is a significant part of the festival. During this time you will see the statue, adorned with flowers, being carried on a richly decorated platform, and paraded through the streets of El Rocío. The faithful follow the Virgin, singing religious songs, playing traditional music, and expressing their devotion.

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Throughout the festival, there are also traditional music and dance performances, horse shows, and various cultural events. This is something you don’t want to miss out on, the atmosphere is festive, with participants singing and dancing Sevillanas, a traditional style of flamenco, late into the night.

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The El Rocío Festival is a deeply emotional and spiritual experience for participants. It represents a mix of religious devotion, cultural heritage, and social gathering. It showcases the rich traditions and customs of Andalusia, making it a fascinating event for locals and tourists alike.

This festival is part of the many vibrant traditions that you’ll find in Seville, the city is bursting with life and animation. It’s one of the reasons that we started our Week in Seville culinary tour, to explore the rich cultural city and of course enjoy the amazing food you’ll find in Seville!

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