Tonight July 16th, the towns and fishing villages along the southern coast of Spain honor La Virgen del Carmen, the protector of seamen. An effigy of the virgin is paraded through the streets and taken for a sail on one of the colourfully adorned boats in the harbor.
One of the best places to see this fiesta is La Cala de Mijas
The Origins of the Virgen del Carmen
To trace the origins of “la Reina de los Mares” – the Queen of the Seas, it’s necessary to go all the way back to the Old Testament. To when the prophet Elias retreated to a cave in Mount Carmelo near Haifa, in Israel.
This lead to the formation of the important Catholic religious order, the Carmelites, in the 12th century. Hundreds of years later, people began to ask for protection from the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmelo – the Virgin of Carmen. She was soon adopted by mariners and fishermen everywhere as their patron.