Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen
I’ve never actually been to Spain before coming on my summer holiday here this year and I have to say that I’m absolutely loving it (despite the extreme heat!). We’re staying in a little resort in the very South somewhere between Almería and Murcia and yesterday evening we decided to visit the little village of Los Gallardos.
Los Gallardos is very small but the community spirit is amazing. We just so happened to visit during one of their biggest fiestas of the year: the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen. The Virgen del Carmen (a form of the Virgin Mary) is the town’s patron saint and on a wider scale, is also the patron saint of the sea and the Spanish Navy.
The Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen is held over the course of three or four days in which the community celebrate her. There are few proceedings throughout the day, but the event really kicks off every evening with stalls, singing, dancing, food and games etc. These celebrations tend to carry on until early the next morning and people sleep through the day to regain energy to do the same all over again the next night!
We caught the last day of the fiesta and in the early evening I watched the parade from the church to the main plaza with my dad. The women and girls were all wearing beautiful formal dresses (I think they’re called feria dresses) in all different styles and colours (there were some very cute matching mother-daughter outfits!). We left to have dinner as the official mass began (mostly because we wouldn’t be able to understand anything as it was all said in Spanish) and then returned with the rest of my family after dinner to see the event really get going.
The lights in the plaza were beautiful and everyone was clustered around tables indulging in tapas and drinks. We tried churros (they’re vegan!) which were cooked in a giant swirl and then cut into sticks (it was really cool to watch!). Unfortunately we had to leave before the singing and dancing really got going, but we did get to listen to some really cool tropical remixes of songs by the Beatles!
I had a brilliant evening and took hundreds of photos. It was really lovely to be able to experience a bit of traditional Spanish culture firsthand - I particularly loved seeing how close the community is and how safe young children were running around at night. It was an absolutely fantastic atmosphere and I’d definitely recommend visiting!