In Spain – but Andalusia in particular – people have a special and often very personal relationship with the Virgin Mary. But with the Virgen del Rocío there is something unusual at play.
She is a woman, a mother and a saint, someone who is close to the people and can help, comfort and understand them. There are many different Marias, each of whom specialize in fields such as hope, health or conception and have their own set of dedicated followers.
During Pentecost, the moment when the spirit of God hovered over the apostles is commemorated. The symbol for the Holy Spirit, a white dove, is also the name of the Virgen del Rocío: la Blanca Paloma. Does that mean the Virgen del Rocío and the Holy Spirit are one, then?
Alas, it cannot be explained so simply. Believers tell you that, during Pentecost, the Holy Spirit embodies the Virgin, and that’s the most convincing explanation they can give.
The pilgrimage to the village of El Rocío, taking place on the 4th and 5th of June this year, is perhaps the biggest and most special of Spain's festivities. Want to experience Andalusia during Pentecost and be part of an unforgettable spectacle? Seville, the region's capital and located about an hour's drive from El Rocío, is stacked with Truly Wonderful hotels. Here's one!