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Procession of the Virgen del Carmen in Nerja | Hotel Los Arcos

Procession of the Virgen del Carmen in Nerja

The Virgin Mary is a very popular lady in many parts of the world, as you might imagine. She has various incarnations, but the only one we need concern ourselves with here is that of ‘Santa Maria in Monte Carmelo’, also known as Virgen del Carmen, or ‘Our Lady of Carmen’. A fiesta takes place in her honour in many coastal areas of Spain on July 16, as she is the patron saint of mariners and fishermen.

Nerja celebrates Virgen del Carmen

On the evening of July 15, in the Church of El Salvadore, the Peña Nerjeña choir sing in honour of Virgen del Carmen. Offerings of prayers and flowers are made.

On the 16th at 6pm there’s another service at the same church, which is located near the stunning Balcon de Europa. An effigy of the Virgen del Carmen is then decorated with flowers, and escorted by local devotees to the beach. The locals are dressed in nautical attire, as befitting the patron saint of mariners and fishermen.

On arrival at the sea, the effigy is placed upon a boat, also covered in flowers, and escorted along the coast by a flotilla until it arrives at La Calahonda beach, where it regains the land and is returned, safely and with dignity, to the Church of El Salvadore, where celebrations are brought to a conclusion with a fireworks display.

Party Party

It wouldn’t be Nerja without a party though, would it? The ‘Moraga’ takes place on the evening of the 17th. At the Plaza de los Cangrejos, towards the eastern end of La Torrecilla beach, the Virgen del Carmen is tempted by the smell of barbecuing sardines wafting on the summer breeze. She would certainly approve of the delicious food being offered for free. She might not approve of drinks being offered for a measly €1.50 though. But we do like to party in Nerja, as regular readers of this blog will already be well aware.

Celebrate with us

If you miss it this year, you could still make it for next year. Well, if you read this before the 17th you could still make it for the Moraga this year! What are you waiting for? Check availability, and maybe you could be joining in the fun.

Image Sources: NerjaToday.com,