El Rocio Pilgrimage


Romeria del Rocío is one of the most famous and greatest pilgrimages in Spain.

The event that combines the Christian tradition with joyful celebration takes place fifty days after the end of Holy Week. Every year over a million rocieros, as pilgrims are called, reach  the sanctuary of Paloma Blanca located in the village of El Rocío 17 kilometers away  locality  Almonte 

(Huelva Province).


The pilgrims' goal is to honor the image of Our Lady of El Rocío.

The pilgrimage has its origins in the 12th century and is associated with the mysterious appearance of the miraculous image of the statue of the Virgin Mary, which, according to the legend, was found by a hunter from the vicinity of Almonte. It was located on one of the trees growing in the local wetlands. The hunter took the figure with him, but when he stopped to rest, the figure miraculously returned to the place from which it was taken. The sanctity of the place has been confirmed. Soon a chapel was built there, and later the Hermitage, or the Basilica of Saint Mary of El Rocío.


Depending on the place where it is organized, the pilgrimage may last from several hours to several weeks, while the route is traditionally traveled  on horseback, on foot or in carts drawn by oxen.  Some vehicles look like Wild West stagecoaches or gypsy carts, colorfully decorated with ribbons, flowers,  with the curtains tied.

During the day, the brotherhoods happily make their way humming songs  and "coplas", and at night they camp in the open air, and fun games are organized around the fires, during which there are singing and dancing combined with sharing food and drink until the early hours of the morning.  



Pilgrims arriving at the village of El Rocío spread out over the entire camp, awaiting the arrival of the other brotherhoods, then on Saturday  wandering through the city

and with the sound of bells to appear before the Blessed Virgin with the banner of the Society.

Services take place on Sundays, and at night no one sleeps as they wait for the celebration, which continues until Monday morning.