Festival of La Virgen del Carmen. Torre del Mar (Vélez-Málaga). July. Unique Festival
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.
Torre del Mar lies on the eastern side of Málaga, right in the heart of the Costa del Sol-Axarquía region. Since prehistoric times it has been coveted by people from all the many different cultures residing on Málaga coastline, as its strategic location was ideal for major economic activities of the time.
While fishing has been Torre del Mar’s main economic activity for many years, today the city is predominantly a tourist destination opening up to the Mediterranean Sea and enjoying a warm, mild climate all year round. Moreover, it offers over 8 kilometres of Mediterranean beaches featuring the so-called “Mejor Paseo Marítimo de Europa” (The Best Seafront Promenade in Europe).
The sea influences the daily life of coastal villagers and, above all, on their devotion to the Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Carmel), who has always been their protector against serious dangers at sea.
From Nerja to Manilva, the people of Malaga take to the streets to accompany the patron saint of sailors, because the fiesta of the Virgen del Carmen is traditionally the day of the working classes. It is the day of the families who have grown and aged by the sea that bathes the shores of Malaga and has provided them with sustenance for their families.
Things have changed now, but this devotion to the Virgen del Carmen remains the same, as can be seen and felt during this moving, maritime celebration. The streets of Torre del Mar are dressed up for the Stella Maris’ parade towards the sea, where thousands of people await while paying compliments enthusiastically.
The locals, wearing the classic blue trousers, white shirt, red sash and esparto espadrilles, will parade Our Lady of Carmel along the seafront promenade until they reach the jábega (a sort of fishing rowboat) on which she will sail the beaches of Torre del Mar, before the gaze of thousands of people who will sing and pray to her.