El Rocio

by Alex Zoboli

The Romería de El Rocío is a procession/pilgrimage on the second day of Pentecost to the Hermitage of El Rocío in the countryside of Almonte, Province of Huelva, Andalucia, Spain, in honor of the Virgin of El Rocío. In recent years the Romería has brought together roughly a million pilgrims each year. The pilgrimage dates from 1653, when the Virgin of Las Rocinas was appointed patron saint of Almonte. Since 1758, the Virgin has been known as the Virgin of El Rocío, and the pilgrimage has taken place on the second day of Pentecost. The pilgrims travel in groups known as religious confraternities. They come from many directions: the Camino de los Llanos (Plains Way) from Almonte proper; the Moguer Way, from Moguer and Huelva; the Sanlúcar Way from Cádiz, crossing the River Guadalquivir at El Bajo de Guía; and the Seville Way. Finally, the Immaculate Conception Emblem of Almonte is brought to the Shrine, at which point the Almontese carry the Virgin of El Rocío out into the village streets.