15 de May de 2024

El Rocio Pilgrimage 2024: When it is celebrated, dates, tips, etc.

Complete experience of the Pilgrimage of El Rocío in Seville: Preparations, Celebrations and Traditions unique in Spain.

El Rocio Pilgrimage El Rocio Pilgrimage

The Romería del Rocío 2024 begins on Friday, May 17 and ends on Monday, May 20 with the recitation of the Holy Rosary

At 12:00 PM, all the Brotherhoods present themselves at the doors of the sanctuary in order of seniority, and the procession continues well into the night. On Sunday, May 19, 2024, the day of Pentecost (On the feast of Pentecost, Christians commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, gathered around the Mother of the Lord - Acts, chapter 2), the Pontifical Mass is celebrated in El Real del Rocío at 10:00 AM. After the Eucharist, the pilgrims gather with their fellow brotherhood members, awaiting the grand moment. The celebration ends on Monday, May 20, 2024, and each year it attracts a million people to the Romería.

The Romería del Rocío 2024: A Pilgrimage to Remember

Welcome to our detailed guide on the fascinating journey to El Rocío, a charming village located in the heart of Andalusia, Spain. Join us as we delve into the rich cultural heritage, extraordinary traditions, and logistical insights of this renowned pilgrimage. Whether you are a devout pilgrim or an adventurous traveler seeking a unique and immersive experience, our in-depth exploration of El Rocío is designed to enhance your understanding and facilitate an unforgettable journey.

What is the Romería del Rocío?

The Romería del Rocío is a significant religious festival that takes place in the village of El Rocío, located in the province of Huelva, Andalusia, Spain. It is a cultural and traditional Andalusian manifestation that captivates numerous pilgrims from all over Spain and abroad year after year.

The origin of the devotion to the Virgin of Rocío dates back to the 13th century when a chapel was erected in her honor in the marshes of the Guadalquivir, near what is now the village of Rocío. Since then, the Virgin of Rocío has gained great importance as a Marian devotion in Andalusia, and the Romería del Rocío has become an authentic expression of popular Andalusian religiosity.

This celebration takes place during the weekend of Pentecost Sunday, which corresponds to the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday. During the Romería del Rocío, thousands of pilgrims embark on a journey to the village of Rocío to pay homage to the Virgin of Rocío.

As for the activities that take place in El Rocío during the pilgrimage, participants can enjoy various events, such as the procession of brotherhoods, religious acts, and the symbolic leap over the fence. They also have the opportunity to delight in the beautiful landscapes and exquisite cuisine of the surrounding areas.

Learn More About the Camino del Rocío

The Camino del Rocío is a route of devotion and tradition undertaken on foot, on horseback, or in carriages. During this journey, the pilgrims sing hymns and prayers, make stops at sacred places, and receive the hospitality of the rural inhabitants of the areas they pass through. The arrival in the village of Rocío and the encounter with the Virgin of Rocío are emotional and endearing moments of the pilgrimage.

The main day of the pilgrimage is Pentecost Sunday, when a large mass is held in the chapel of Rocío in honor of the Virgin of Rocío. At this moment, the brotherhoods that have arrived in the village pay their respects and offer their tributes to the Virgin.

The procession of brotherhoods is another highlight of the Romería. In it, the different participating brotherhoods parade through the streets of the village with their symbolic carts and horses, dressed in traditional costumes. This procession takes place on the afternoon of the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday.

In addition to religious events, the recitation of the holy rosary, and processions, visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy the nature and beauty of the surroundings. The Doñana National Park, the beaches of Matalascañas, and the Ría de Huelva are places worth visiting. Additionally, in the village of Rocío, there are restaurants and bars where you can taste the delicious typical Andalusian cuisine, such as Iberian ham, salmorejo, and shrimp tortillas. Moreover, the village's wineries are renowned for producing the local wine, known as "mosto".

Romería del Rocío, Almonte

In the year 2024, the Romería del Rocío will take place from May 17 to May 20, culminating with the celebration of the Virgin of Rocío on the Monday following Pentecost Sunday.

The duration of the Camino del Rocío varies depending on the starting point. Generally, it begins a few days before the weekend of Pentecost Sunday, when the Romería del Rocío is celebrated in the village of El Rocío. On average, the journey can last between 2 and 10 days, although some pilgrims may take longer depending on the distance and the mode of transport used.

In the case of the Hermandad de Huelva, one of the largest in terms of pilgrims, the journey starts in Huelva and covers a total distance of 61.5 km. On the first day, they reach Las Posadillas, where travelers spend the night in La Matilla. The next day, they reach Gato. Before arriving in El Rocío, a stop is made at "La Charca", an emblematic place where hymns to the Simpecado are sung and first-time pilgrims are baptized by pouring water over their heads, granting them the official title of "Rociero". Thus, it takes 2 days to reach the Romería.

The Leap of the Fence in El Rocío

The leap of the fence in El Rocío takes place during the early hours of Pentecost Monday, the day after Pentecost Sunday, marking the beginning of the Romería del Rocío in the village of El Rocío. This moment generates great excitement among the participants and signifies the start of the entry of the brotherhoods into the precinct where the chapel of the Virgin of Rocío is located.

The organization and control of the leap of the fence in El Rocío fall to the almonteños, the inhabitants of the town where the chapel of the Virgin of Rocío is located. They are the ones who lift the wooden fence around the chapel, known as "la reja", and manage access to the precinct during the pilgrimage. The almonteños decide when the leap of the fence occurs, which usually takes place in the early hours of Pentecost Monday, and they also organize and supervise access to the precinct throughout the pilgrimage.

The departure of the Virgin of Rocío in Almonte is carried out in procession from the chapel in the village of El Rocío during the early hours of Pentecost Monday, when the Romería del Rocío is celebrated. This moment is one of the most exciting of the pilgrimage, as pilgrims eagerly await the arrival of the Virgin of Rocío, who is transported on a carriage adorned with flowers and pulled by oxen. The procession winds through the streets of the village while the pilgrims sing and pray, stopping at various chapels and shrines so that the faithful can pay homage to the Virgin. The departure of the Virgin of Rocío is a moment of great devotion and emotion.

The Romería del Rocío is one of the most important pilgrimages in Spain, attracting a large number of people each year. Although the number of pilgrims varies from one pilgrimage to another, it is estimated that around one million people come annually to the village of El Rocío to participate in this celebration. This religious event attracts pilgrims from all over Spain and other countries, being considered one of the highest examples of popular religiosity in the country. The Romería del Rocío offers a unique experience for participants and is an integral part of Andalusian culture and tradition.

As for the number of horses participating in the Romería del Rocío, it can vary each year, but it is estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 horses take part in this festival. Horses play a fundamental role in the celebration and are a characteristic sight of the Romería del Rocío. While many pilgrims make the journey on foot, there are also numerous riders who travel on horseback. Therefore, along the way and in the village of El Rocío, you can see a multitude of people riding horses.

The Doñana Natural Space Enclave

The Most Anticipated Moment for the Devotees of the Virgin of Rocío Approaches

The most eagerly awaited moment for the devotees of the Virgin of Rocío is approaching: the Pentecost pilgrimage. The roads leading to the village of El Rocío are preparing to receive the thousands of pilgrims who head there with fervor and devotion. To date, a total of 11 brotherhoods have set out, with the first being the Brotherhood of Córdoba last Thursday, followed by those of Écija and Osuna (Seville), Málaga La Caleta and Málaga La Real, and Puente Genil (Córdoba) on Saturday. This Sunday, more brotherhoods will join the route.

These routes mainly traverse the provinces of Huelva, Seville, and Cádiz, and until next Friday they will continue receiving brotherhoods, reaching a total of 127 brotherhoods with the recent addition of Montequinto and Torremolinos. After a year of inactivity, the roads are once again filled with the typical sounds and scenes of this pilgrimage.

The Rocío Pilgrimage 2024

The Rocío pilgrimage is a spiritual journey undertaken by members of 127 brotherhoods, who travel from all corners of Spain to pay homage to Our Lady of Rocío. There are four main routes to reach the destination: the Sanlúcar route, which crosses the Doñana National Park and is used by pilgrims from Cádiz; the Llanos route, which starts in Almonte and is the oldest; the Moguer route for those departing from Huelva; and the Villamanrique route, the most popular among brotherhoods from the rest of Spain and the world.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Rocío serves as the heart of the pilgrimage, but the Rocío experience encompasses other unique places such as the Votive Chapel of the Sanctuary, the Virgin's Well, and the plazas of the Arriero, Doñana, and Acebuchal in the village, El Chaparral, and the Brotherhood House of the Hermandad Matriz of Almonte.

Musical and choral expressions are an integral part of the Rocío pilgrimage, as evidenced by the thousands of pilgrims heading to the village of Almonte. Among these expressions, the rociera sevillanas, the medieval sounds of the bagpipe and drum, and the rociera salve, a Marian couplet written by Rafael León Arias de Saavedra and Manuel López-Quiroga, with music by Manuel Pareja Obregón and Gerardo del Valle Beltrán, stand out. This couplet is offered to the Virgin and performed at numerous events and moments during the pilgrimage.

The Rocío Pilgrimage Calendar 2024

Friday, May 17 | Reception of the Affiliated Brotherhoods at the Hermandad Matriz in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Rocío in Almonte. During the presentation of the brotherhoods, the carriages will shout "Viva la Virgen" amid sevillanas songs.

Saturday, May 18 | 12:00 noon: the Affiliated Brotherhoods present themselves at the sanctuary gates in order of seniority. / 12:00 AM: Recitation of the Holy Rosary, known as "of Almonte".

Sunday, May 19 | 10:00 AM: Solemn Pontifical Mass in El Real de El Rocío. / 8:00 PM: Mass for drummers, carters, and rocket launchers. / 12:00 AM: Recitation of the Holy Rosary from the Plaza de Doñana.

Monday, May 20 | At dawn: the pilgrims begin the leap of the fence to rescue the Virgin and thus begin the Procession of the Venerated Image of Our Lady of Rocío, carried on the shoulders of the almonteños through the streets of the village. The Virgin of Rocío's processional exit begins with the recitation of the Holy Rosary at 12:00 noon and concludes with the recitation of the popular farewell salve.

The Rocío Brotherhoods

The brotherhoods are public associations of the faithful, erected by their diocesan bishops and whose filial titles are granted by the Hermandad Matriz of Our Lady of Rocío of Almonte. These are the 127 brotherhoods in order of seniority:

Villamanrique de la Condesa (with Bollullos de la Mitación), Pilas, La Palma del Condado, Moguer, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Triana, Umbrete, Coria del Río, Huelva, San Juan del Puerto, Rociana del Condado, Carrión de los Céspedes, Benacazón, Trigueros, Gines, Jerez de la Frontera, Dos Hermanas (with Los Palacios and Villafranca), Olivares, Hinojos, Bonares, La Puebla del Río, Bollullos del Condado, Valverde del Camino, Gibraleón, Espartinas, Sanlúcar la Mayor, Lucena del Puerto, Seville, Huévar del Aljarafe, Aznalcázar, El Puerto de Santa María, Madrid, Punta Umbría, Puerto Real, Barcelona, Palos de la Frontera, Emigrantes, Paterna del Campo, Villanueva del Ariscal, Lucena de Córdoba, Écija, Villarrasa, Isla Cristina, Bormujos, Camas, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lebrija, La Línea de la Concepción, Córdoba, Rota, Ayamonte, Villalba del Alcor, Granada, Isla Mayor, Cabra, Málaga (with Torremolinos), Cádiz, Puente Genil, Jaén, Castillo de Locubín, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Algeciras, Marbella, Tocina, Gelves, Utrera, Almería, Cerro del Águila, Sevilla Sur, Toledo, Almensilla, Las Cabezas de San Juan, San Juan de Aznalfarache, Fuengirola, Ceuta, Osuna, Santiponce, and Valencia.

Along the way, joy, music, the drum and flutes, along with the beautiful sevillanas songs, mix with the applause, olés, and salves, all with a single common goal: to once again reach the feet of the Virgin of Rocío in the village of El Rocío, which expects to receive around a million people, as in previous years.

All the brotherhoods starting their journey from tomorrow will travel along the open roads that will welcome them. To ensure the safe and smooth progress of the pilgrimage, the Plan Romero will be launched on Monday, led by the Junta de Andalucía and involving other administrations, deploying nearly 7,000 personnel this year. This plan will ensure the safety and well-being of the pilgrims throughout the entire route.

This unique religious celebration of our land, which is also a showcase of Andalusian culture and tradition, is, after Holy Week and the April Fair, the most anticipated event for pilgrims, who are ready to enjoy an unforgettable experience on their way to the village of El Rocío.

El Rocío 2024: Key Dates and Moments

The week of the Romería del Rocío is an explosion of passion, devotion, tradition, and joy that attracts thousands of pilgrims who travel the path to the village of Almonte. The days leading up to the pilgrimage are filled with intensity as the final preparations are made for the grand celebration.

The Romería del Rocío begins on Friday, May 17, 2024, with the recitation of the Holy Rosary. At 12:00 PM, all the Brotherhoods present themselves at the gates of the sanctuary in order of seniority, and the procession continues well into the night. On Monday, May 20, 2024, Pentecost Monday, the Pontifical Mass is celebrated in El Real del Rocío at 10:00 AM. After the Eucharist, the pilgrims gather with their fellow brotherhood members, awaiting the grand moment.

The most emotional night of the pilgrimage is when the Virgin of Rocío leaves her sanctuary in procession and reunites with her faithful. The procession begins with the spectacular "salto de la reja" (leap over the fence), and the bearers stumble due to the tide of admirers crowding to see the White Dove. The cries of "¡Que viva la Blanca Paloma!" fill the air as the procession continues into the early hours of Monday. The celebration culminates when the Virgin returns to her Hermitage, entrusting herself to her faithful until the following year.

During the Romería del Rocío, Almonte becomes the third most populous city in Spain, thanks to the thousands of pilgrims who gather there to pay homage to the Virgin. Pilgrims cross on foot and by boat through the marshes of the Guadalquivir delta to reach El Rocío, on the edge of Doñana National Park. The festival attracts over a hundred brotherhoods from all the towns near Cádiz, Huelva, and Seville.

The Virgin of Rocío, also known as the "White Dove," is venerated by the faithful during the Feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit visited the Virgin and the Apostles in the form of a dove.

In addition to the religious celebration, these dates are ideal for visiting Doñana National Park, the Guadalquivir delta, and the beaches of Matalascañas. Although the phrase "El Rocío is the way" is very popular, the most notable days are the weekend of the Romería, especially the night from Sunday to Monday of Pentecost.

Romería del Rocío, Almonte

8 Sensations of the El Rocío Pilgrimage That Can Be Yours

1. Embracing the Spirit of El Rocío

Understanding the Significance: The mystical allure of El Rocío lies in its deep historical and religious significance. Every year, millions of devoted pilgrims gather to pay homage to the revered Virgin of Rocío, the patron saint of Almonte. This ancient tradition has been an integral part of Andalusian culture for centuries.

2. Witnessing the Pilgrimage

The highlight of the El Rocío experience is the captivating pilgrimage, known as "la romería." Pilgrims from different regions, dressed in colorful traditional attire, embark on a profound journey through the picturesque landscapes of Doñana National Park, evoking a deep sense of devotion and unity.

3. Immersion in Traditions

Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of El Rocío's traditions, which include flamenco music, horseback rides, and lively parades. Join in the joyful atmosphere as locals and visitors come together to celebrate this extraordinary event.

4. The Charms of El Rocío

Explore the Natural Environment: El Rocío is nestled in a stunning natural setting. Surrounded by Doñana National Park, this village offers you the opportunity to discover the beauty of the marshes, dunes, and diverse flora and fauna that inhabit the area. Take the chance to go hiking, cycling, or 4x4 excursions and immerse yourself in the majesty of nature.

5. Visit the Ermita del Rocío

The Ermita del Rocío is the epicenter of devotion in El Rocío. This sanctuary is where the image of the Virgin of Rocío is kept and serves as a meeting point for pilgrims. Admire its architecture and immerse yourself in the sacred atmosphere that permeates this place.

6. Enjoy Local Gastronomy

The cuisine in El Rocío is a delight for the senses. Taste traditional dishes such as tomato soup, venison in sauce, or the famous lomo en manteca. Additionally, don't miss the opportunity to savor Andalusian tapas and exquisite wines from the region. Local restaurants and bars will offer you an authentic culinary experience.

7. Experience Authentic Flamenco

Andalusia is the birthplace of flamenco, and in El Rocío, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in this passionate art form. Enjoy live flamenco performances, where you can indulge in the music, dance, and singing of this unique tradition.

8. The Beauty of Horses and Equestrian Activities

El Rocío is known for its strong connection with horses. During the pilgrimage, you'll see many pilgrims on horseback riding through the streets of the village. If you're a horse lover, don't miss the chance to participate in horseback rides through the surroundings of El Rocío. You can also witness equestrian displays or even learn to ride yourself.

Tips for the Romería del Rocío

If you plan to attend the Romería del Rocío, it is crucial to keep some tips in mind. First, you should wear comfortable clothing and footwear for walking, as the journey can be long and strenuous. Additionally, it is essential to bring enough water and food for the journey, as well as sun protection to avoid burns. Furthermore, it is vital to respect the rules and traditions of the pilgrimage, being aware that it is a significant religious celebration for the local community, and visitors are expected to behave in a respectful and considerate manner.

Planning Your Trip to El Rocío

Choosing the Right Time: To fully enjoy the spirit of El Rocío, it is essential to strategically plan your visit. The pilgrimage takes place 50 days after Easter Sunday, so you should check the calendar to ensure you do not miss this extraordinary event.

Accommodation Options: El Rocío offers a variety of accommodation options to suit the preferences of every traveler. From traditional pilgrim hostels to charming rural houses and modern hotels, the village caters to a diverse range of visitors.

Choosing the Right Mode of Transport

Getting to El Rocío is part of the adventure. While bus schedules provide valuable information, it is also important to consider other forms of transport. Whether you opt for buses, trains, or private car rentals, plan your trip in advance to enjoy a seamless travel experience.

10 Useful Rules for the Romería del Rocío

  1. Comfortable clothing and footwear: The journey to the village of El Rocío can be long and exhausting, so it is essential to wear suitable clothing and footwear for walking.
  2. Sun protection: During the pilgrimage, pilgrims spend many hours in the sun, so it is crucial to bring sun protection to avoid burns and protect the skin.
  3. Enough water and food: It is vital to bring enough water and food for the journey, as you may spend several hours without finding a place to replenish supplies.
  4. Respect the rules and traditions: The Romería del Rocío is a significant religious celebration for the local community, so it is essential to respect its rules and traditions.
  5. Do not litter: It is important to care for the environment and keep the path clean, so it is recommended to carry a bag to collect trash and not to litter.
  6. Stay in a group: During the pilgrimage, it is advisable to stay in a group to avoid getting lost and to have company in case of need.
  7. Safety: It is important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings to avoid accidents and dangerous situations.
  8. Respect animals: During the pilgrimage, it is common to encounter animals such as horses and donkeys used to transport pilgrims and their belongings. It is essential to treat animals with respect and care, and not to overload them.
  9. Be patient: During the pilgrimage, there may be moments of crowds and waiting, so it is important to be patient and maintain a calm and positive attitude.
  10. Enjoy the atmosphere: The Romería del Rocío is a unique celebration that offers an unforgettable experience. It is important to relax, enjoy the atmosphere, and share moments with other pilgrims.

Special Traffic Plan for the 2024 Romería Departure

The City of Seville Announces Details of the Special Traffic Plan for the Departure of the Rocío Brotherhoods

Most of the traffic closures and diversions will take place between the morning of Wednesday, May 15, and Thursday, May 16, as these two days see the highest activity on the streets. However, there are some exceptions, such as the Montequinto Brotherhood, which begins its departure in two stages on Monday of the following week, and the Castrense Brotherhood, which leaves on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 15

Five brotherhoods departing from the neighborhoods and the Old Town will cause closures in the initial stages of their departures, coinciding with the morning rush hour, as soon as their respective pilgrim masses conclude.

The first to begin their journey to the Rocío shrine will be the Triana Brotherhood at 7:00 AM on Wednesday, followed by the Macarena Brotherhood 50 minutes later. At 9:00 AM, the brotherhoods of Seville-El Salvador and El Cerro del Águila will start their pilgrimage.

Triana: Pagés del Corro (7:00) - Castilla - Cristo de la Expiración (11:00)

Macarena: Plaza de San Gil (7:50) - Feria - Marqués de Paradas - Cristo de la Expiración (10:30)

Seville-El Salvador: Plaza del Salvador (9:00) - Santander - Plaza de Cuba - Blas Infante (11:00)

Cerro del Águila: Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (9:00) - Alcalde Juan Fernández - Felipe II - Puente de las Delicias - Juan Pablo II

Thursday, May 16

At 8:00 AM on Thursday, the Seville South Rocío Brotherhood will set off.

Seville South: Sierra Vicara (8:00) - Felipe II - Puente de las Delicias - Juan Pablo II (11:30)

The progress of the brotherhoods through the city usually takes between two and three hours, depending on the case; thus, the time they occupy the different streets will rarely exceed ten minutes. The traffic closures should not be much longer than this estimate, according to the City Council.

To ensure a safe and smooth journey for the brotherhoods and to minimize traffic disruptions, the city has implemented a special traffic plan. Drivers are advised to plan their routes accordingly and follow the instructions of traffic authorities.

Conclusion of the 2024 Rocío Pilgrimages

El Rocío is much more than a tourist destination. It is a spiritual, cultural, and natural experience that will leave you impressed. From the pilgrimage to the traditions, the beauty of the surroundings, and the hospitality of its people, every aspect of El Rocío will captivate you. Get ready to immerse yourself in this wonderful adventure and discover the unique essence of El Rocío. Safe travels!