Sunday Nearest February 2

Candelaria del Rocío, Almonte, Huelva, Andalucia, Spain 

A wide network of lay brotherhoods honors the Virgin of El Rocío in southern Spain. The shrine got its start in the 1300s, after baying dogs led a hunter to a statue of the Virgin and Child hidden deep in the wilderness some eight miles from the city of Almonte. The story goes that the hunter fell asleep while carrying his find to the town, and on awaking discovered that the statue had returned to its original spot. There at Las Rocinas -- later transmuted to El Rocío ("the dew"), Catholics from Almonte built a shrine to house the the finely carved wooden statue. Dating probably from the late 1200s, the image is displayed in richly ornamented vestments, within an elaborate altarpiece. On the day after Pentecost, the "Rocío Grande," pilgrims from all over Spain accompany the Virgin in procession through the area. Another celebration, the "Rocío Chico," takes place on August 19 to commemorate Almonte's being spared from the Napoleonic threat after a communal pilgrimage to El Rocío on that date in 1813. Every seven years (2012, 2019) the statue goes to Almonte after the Rocío Chico, remaining there nine months until returning to the shrine for the Rocío Grande.   

There are Brotherhoods of El Rocío all over Spain, which bring to the big festivals their own songs and Simpecados, images of the Virgin mounted in carts. The Brotherhood of the Dew in Seville's Triana district, founded in 1813, holds additional celebrations near Candlemas in February and All Saints in November. On the weekend nearest February 2, participants drive to Villamanrique, 25 miles from Seville, then transfer to horseback for the 15-mile pilgrimage to the shrine for their "Winter Rocío" or "Festival of Light," which features a blessing of children as well as of candles.

Sources include:

bullet* Hermandad del Rocío de Triana * Página Web Oficial,
bulletROCIO.COM - Todo sobre El Rocio - (1996-2012), (photo)
bullet"Ermita de El Rocío," Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre,

Also commemorated this day:

bulletCandelaria, San Pedro Pinula, Jalapa, Guatemala. Parade.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly