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08·JUL·2014

Las Fiestas de la Virgen del Carmen

One of the best loved Murcia fiestas is held by the fishermen of the Mar Menor known as the “Brotherhood,” organisers of the fiesta of the Virgen del Carmen, held on 16th July and hosted by the small fishing community of San Pedro del Pinatar at the Northern end of the Mar Menor coast. The Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Carmen) derives from the Virgin Mary and Israel’s Mount Carmel. In Spain, she is the patron of the Spanish fleet. All over Spain effigies of the Virgin feature her in sumptuous robes, crowned, with jewelled rosaries and carrying the baby Jesus. The Virgin Protector Documentation suggests that fishermen have honoured the Virgen del Carmen as their protector with pilgrimages and parades since the 18th Century but since 1892 celebrations have become more ambitious. It was once believed that it was safe to swim only after 16th July – after the Virgin had “cleansed” the waters! No doubt the Spanish Tourist Association found the belief somewhat unprofitable! The celebration was declared a regional event of “great interest” amongst Murcia fiestas in the sixties. Nowadays the festivities begin with Mass at the Plaza de la Constitución at around 7 pm which lasts around an hour before the Virgin is carried through the streets accompanied by a procession of coloured streamers, banners and flowers, on the shoulders of local sailors and fishermen dressed in white. Las Fiestas de la Virgen del Carmen San Pedro Del Pinatar Crossing the Mar Menor The sailors wade far into the sea with their precious cargo and place her carefully aboard a boat to cross the Mar Menor bound for the lo Pagán Beach, the Esplanade and the church of Nuestra Señora Del Carmen Lo Pagan, escorted by dozens of small craft decked in flowers, paper chains, lights and streamers. There is always a minute’s silence observed while red carnations are thrown into the water in poignant remembrance of those who lost their lives to the sea. Las Fiestas de la Virgen del Carmen San Pedro del Pinatar At the church the Virgin is warmly welcomed by her worshippers and remains there for the rest of the evening. Spectacular Firework Display Just before midnight a spectacular firework display rocks the Esplanade near the Fish Market, lighting up the sky and raining down onto the water (and the heads of the spectators – so if you are nervous around fireworks it is best to stand well back!) The Virgin is then returned from whence she came amongst singing and rejoicing. The party ends at around 2am on 17th July with the solemn singing of the Salve Marinera (Praise of The Sea), the official anthem of the Spanish Navy sang at Murcia fiestas linked with the sea. The Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen is very much a sea-based religious festival but with all the usual party atmosphere of all Spanish celebrations and just a step away from Murcia. San Pedro del Pinatar is near San Javier, around 55 km from Murcia, an easy car hire drive along the RM-19. There is plenty of parking in the town but as is always the case with fiestas, parking is at a premium on the day so it may be necessary to park your Drivalia car rental on the edge of the fun! 95 air max cheap nike air max cb34 air max 95 neon nike air max 360 95 womens nike air max 90 white