El Rocío is a small village belonging to the town of Almonte and located at the entrance of the Doñana National Park. Surrounded by an area of great natural interest, it is world famous for its annual Pilgrimage of the Virgin of El Rocío, which is the largest in the country.
Worth visiting in the village itself is the impressive Ermita de la Blanca Paloma temple, which is dedicated to the Virgin, and above all else has something of a colonial feel.
The Pilgrimage of the Virgin of El Rocío is a religious celebration without precedent in modern Mariology (the theological study of Mary) and is the principal celebration dedicated to the Virgin of El Rocío.
The pilgrimage begins on the Saturday before Pentecost, at 12 noon in front of the gates of the Shrine, with the presentation of the Confraternities (the groups of pilgrims traveling together) in strict order of antiquity. Each of the Confraternities briefly stops its cart to turn to the main door of the Shrine and sing a hymn dedicated to the Virgin. The pilgrims – on foot, on horseback or in decorated ox-drawn carts – march in formation to the end of the route, which is not easy at times due to the old and dusty paths. This colorful, emotive and solemn parade, infused with dust, sweat and faith, is perhaps one of the most spectacular moments of the pilgrimage.
At some time early in the morning, the locals spontaneously jump the fence, rescue the Virgin and begin the procession, the silver biers seeming to float on a sea of religious fervor. The entire village pours out onto the streets, there is a non-stop cacophony of church bells, and jubilant cheers accompany the Virgin on her way amid rose petals and prayers. This is a moment of great magnitude: everybody – locals, travelers and foreigners – are filled with the excitement, magic and light of the procession. It is an incredible moment; a celebration that must be experienced.
“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has 2 all-inclusive resorts in the province of Huelva, both in Isla Canela, 50 km from the province capital Huelva: the IBEROSTAR Isla Canela and the IBEROSTAR Isla Canela Park. They are the ideal vacation complexes for couples or families in Huelva, with a wide variety of facilities for relaxation and entertainment.”