In the evening on July 16th, fishermen and sailors are celebrating their patron saint Virgen del Carmen in many coastal towns and fishing villages in Spain and South America.
The celebrations is very popular in Andalusia, where fishing villages and towns along the coast have colorful processions with a flower-covered statue of the Virgin. She is always carried down to the beach and in some cities launched into sea in a boat while in other cities she is simply carried into the water. The entire village enters the streets to participate in the celebrations and everything often terminates with a huge fireworks display.
The celebration varies from city to city, some cities have celebrations even the next day. In Malaga there is a procession both on the 16th and on the following Sunday. The festival is especially important in fishing villages such as Estepona, Fuengirola (Los Boliches), Torremolinos, Vélez-Málaga and Rincón de la Victoria.
Virgen del Carmen is an annotation of the Virgin Mary and has its roots in the Old Testament when the aging prophet Elijah was a hermit on Mount Carmel “Monte Carmelo”. Hundreds of years later when pilgrims arrived in the Prophet’s path, they asked for protection during the journey of “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”, which later led to the Virgen del Carmen and the festivals that are now being celebrated.