Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) Procession in Los Boliches (Fuengirola)
This festival has been declared to be of Tourist Interest by the Provincial Council of Málaga.
Please check with the local Town Hall or Municipal Tourism Office for the festival date before planning any sightseeing activities.
Love and devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Virgin of Carmel in Los Boliches, a humble fishing neighbourhood, has existed for more than a hundred years. It all started in 1865, when the first church dedicated to Virgin Mary was built there.
There has been an account of these processions in honour Our Lady of Mount Carmel since the beginning of the 20th century, more precisely since 1903. Today it includes a church ceremony, music and fireworks, and takes place on 16th July. The church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Holy Faith in Los Boliches opens its doors round 9 o’clock in the evening, when you can hear the first music chords played by the cornets and drums band and Our Lord Jesus of Nazareth Band from Almogía, who start the procession through the neighbourhood with the retinue.
There are thousands of people who gather along the way to see the procession, which goes through the centre of Los Boliches. This celebration is peculiar because the orders to the bearers of the throne are not communicated by the bell, as it is usually done, but orally. Any part of the itinerary by land is interesting to see.
The most popular and emotional moment of the parade, which also makes it unique and it is the most awaited by believers and other attendants, is when the ‘sailors’ go into the sea, carrying the float with the Virgin’s statue on their shoulders unlike in other processions of this kind during which the float is placed on a boat. Then the patroness Saint blesses the sea. The float is rather big, and it goes deep into the water while a spectacular display of fireworks is set off from a nearby breakwater. Hundreds of believers go into the water in order to follow the throne and thousands of people at the shore as well as plenty of boats follow the event and make it more attractive. Depending on the state of the sea, the bearers of the throne can entertain in the sea and enjoy the procession.
Once it is finished, they go back to the seafront with the float and continue with the procession towards the temple. There are planned stops along the way, where flowers are thrown from the balconies while people sing ‘Salve Marinera’, a prayer to the sea patroness.
At the church door, Spanish anthem is sung, and people applaud and cheer the Virgin, saying their farewells and thanks for being able to see her once again.
The last and the most personal act is inside the church, behind the closed door between the members of the brotherhood and bearers of the throne. This peculiar procession in the name of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the events which are related to it are the reason why thousands of people come to this quarter to celebrate this traditional festival.
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