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Devotions to Our Lady

La Virgen del Rocio - The Virgin of the Dew


TIA received this slide-show from one of our readers that presents the traditional procession of the Virgen del Rocio which takes place yearly at Pentecost in Andalusia (southern Spain). The scenes shown in the slides probably took place in 2008, but no date was specified.

A religious procession for Our Lady

Watch this slide-show of the annual procession to La Virgen del Rocio in Andalusia, Spain
Even though we lament some scenes of women who could be better dressed in a procession to honor Our Lady, we believe this slide show is interesting for Americans to observe the great participation of the people in a Catholic procession, something we rarely see in the United States. It reflects the devotion and deep Catholic sense of the Spanish people, even in these post-conciliar times.

We believe this slide-show captures some of the joy, vibrancy and love of the Blessed Virgin that typify the best of the Catholic Spain of old.

History of the procession

The week before Pentecost, the hamlet of Rocio in the Andalusian countryside honors Our Lady in one of Spain's biggest feasts - the Romeria Del Rocio, the pilgrimage to El Rocio. Nearly one million people travel to the marshes near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River to pay homage to the Virgen del Rocio in a week long celebration of praying, singing, eating and dancing.

This tradition dates back to the 15th century, when the statue of the Virgin Mary was discovered in a tree trunk near the marshes of the hamlet of Rocio, close to the village of Almonte. Over the centuries the Pentecost procession and feast to honor the Virgin became more and more widespread. Today, hundreds of ‘brotherhoods’ from surrounding villages and towns organize the processions that end in Almonte on the weekend of Pentecost (this year May 30-31).

Travelers come from all over Andalusia on foot, on horseback or in the traditional wagons. No motorized vehicles are allowed. Most of these pilgrims wear the traditional Andalusian clothing, the women in bright flamenco dresses and the men in their wide-brimmed hats and short-cropped jackets called ‘boleros’. Around their necks are the traditional pilgrim silver medals on a green ribbon.

The pilgrims arrive in the village of Almonte just before dawn on Pentecost Sunday for the grand procession through the plains and marshes that ends in an outdoor Mass where the rich banners of all the brotherhoods are displayed. Then the procession starts again and continues into the late night.

Accompanied by tambourines, flutes and guitars, the people joyfully sing and vie to draw near and touch the large silver shrine that contains a rich effigy of the statue of the Virgin dressed in gold vestments adorned with precious stones.

The sound of firecrackers fills the air as the crowds cry "Viva la Reina de la Marisma" ("Long live the Queen of the Marshes") and “Salve Rociera” with its rousing Olé! Olé!

Here are the lyrics you will hear in the background of the slide-show, with an English translation of the verses.

The miraculous statue of the Virgen del Rocio

The miraculous statue of the Virgen del Rocio
        Salve Rociera

Dios te salve María
del rocío Señora.
Luna, Sol, Norte y Guía
y pastora celestial.
Dios te salve María
todo el pueblo te adora
y repite a porfía :
Como tu no hay otra igual.
Olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé.
Al rocío yo quiero volver
a cantarle a la Virgen con fe con un
Olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé.
Al rocío yo quiero volver
a cantarle a la Virgen con fe con un olé.

        English translation

God hails you, Mary
Lady of the Dew.
Moon, Sun, North Star and guide,
And celestial shepherdess
God hails you, Mary,
All the people honor you
And repeat over and over,
There is none equal to you
Olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé.
To El Rocio I want to return
To sing to the Virgin with faith and with an
Olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé,
olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé, olé.
To El Rocio I want to return
To sing to the Virgin with faith and with an olé.
Posted May 30, 2009


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