Thursday, July 17, 2014

Virgins Are Hugely Popular

The title of this post, "Virgins are Hugely Popular" is from an article on an often-useful commercial British travel site called Andalucia.com. And I quote:

"Religious Virgins are hugely popular in Andalucia; they are normally handcrafted from wood and porcelain and spend 99.9 per cent of the year in glass-covered alcoves at the local church. Most are dusted down and placed on flower-decked thrones at Easter-time when they are lovingly and solemnly borne through the streets. The Virgen del Carmen, however, has her own special day."

I guess this means that atheist and agnostic virgins are not hugely popular (I wonder what they're made of). Also, I question the statistics (99.9 percent?), as well as their theories on housekeeping (dusted down ... at Easter time?), not to mention the rest of this peculiar description.

But, it's true that the Virgen del Carmen has her own special day, 16 July. And this year I saw her likeness carried through the streets, floated into the Mediterranean Sea (in the company of hundreds of well-wishers), and back out again. I followed closely behind and almost went in the water myself, but realized I wouldn't be able to keep my camera high and dry. Besides, being an atheist, I felt strange getting caught up among the devotees instead of marveling from the sidelines. (Click any image to enlarge and don't miss the fireworks — coming tomorrow.)

THE BAND LEADING THE PROCESSION ONTO THE PASEO.
MARCHING BAND FROM THE CITY OF MIJAS.
THE BROTHERHOOD FROM THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF CARMEN
(WHICH IS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, LOS BOLICHES).
SHE IS HEAVY.
ABOUT TO ROUND THE CORNER.
PASSING THE ROMAN COLUMNS (DUG UP A FEW BLOCKS AWAY).
LET THERE BE LIGHTS...
WORKING OUR WAY ALONG THE BEACH.
(THIS IS WHERE THE VIRGIN WAS TO EXIT THE WATER.)
CONTINUING ON... LOOKING BACK TOWARDS HOME.
COMING ONTO THE BEACH AND HEADING FOR THE SURF.
I FOLLOWED BEHIND.
INTO THE WATER.
HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WERE ALREADY IN THE WATER TO MEET THEM.
HUNDREDS MORE FOLLOWED.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GODDESS ELENA,
(WHO DID GET IN THE WATER).

31 comments:

  1. My first thought, when reading the title for this post, was: 'Nooooooo, don't die a virgin, there are terrorists waiting for you.....'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacqueline:
      Well, speaking for myself, that's certainly not something I'LL have to worry about.

      Delete
  2. All I ever got when I was a virgin was felt up in a high school locker room.

    I wanted a parade, too!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      I was never felt up in a high school locker room! The hell with the parade!

      Delete
  3. What a 'trip' this is! I can imagine most of us would have gotten caught up in all the frenzied ritual of this procession/parade.
    So you "followed behind", eh Mitchell?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Judy:
      Fascinating. Next year I think I'll give someone else the camera ... or just not worry about pictures.

      Delete
  5. This virgin has got a lot of hotties to carry her - looking particularly alluring in their immaculate sailor suits. I wonder if they deliberately make the loads especially heavy so that it feels worthwhile and to give a sense of achievement. By the end they must have been all grunty and perspiring buckets - just look at them clinging onto each other, rubbing against the one in front and behind as they heave themselves along. Oh, lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raybeard:
      As you can see, it is a lot of work. But just think, they got to go in the water and float her along for a while before heading back to church... soaking wet in their white, clingy sailor suits...

      Delete
  6. Phallic balloons and virgins. Spain really knows how to throw parties apparently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheapchick:
      Well, you know religious virgins ARE hugely popular. I don't know about phallic balloons, though.

      Delete
  7. Mitchell, so it means Spain is rather religious country or maybe traditional? It is amazing festival but I have not seen that at my place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia:
      Spain's Catholic history does carry into the present, but I know a lot of people who are culturally Catholic and not very religious or at least not conservatively religious. Interestingly, in terms of government policies, Spain is much better at separating church and state than is the United States.

      Delete
  8. Spain is a curious location for an atheist. Great pictures. Maybe they could wash some of the dust off these virgins when they're in the ocean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      Oh, I don't know... I've met plenty of Spanish atheists. I've never been confronted with religious conservatism in my daily life here. It happened to me all the time in the States. It's a fascinating mix of Catholic history, traditions and culture, and social justice and freedom. (Of course, there are those who would like to take things back...)

      Delete
  9. Finally! An answer to that old question What Are Virgins Made Of? :-)

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pearl:
      Not very appealing when you think about it!

      Delete
    2. No its all eatable marzipan, really honest I know. Marzipan Virgin.

      Delete
  10. How do you join the Spanish Navy, I mean Virgins are so rare someone has to help find them. Am sure the Navy is up to this stressful job.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wonder why it is that we do not have photos of the return wet sailor parade? Enquiring minds want to know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurent:
      Because I missed it!!! I was still at the entry point on the beach watching the fireworks. I don't know if the wet sailors were the ones who carried the Virgin back to the church, but we avoided the crowds heading in that direction so didn't see them back on the street either. I'll try better next year.

      Delete
  12. Not to sound sacrilegious and cynical, Mitchell, but how can you be sure she's a virgin? Especially after all those people handled her?
    Seems suspicious to me, but I'm just Jewish gal who's enraged about this blatantly anti-semitic celebration. Where's the festival for Jewish virgins?

    It does look spectacular and fun. I guess I'm just jealous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robyn:
      That's the eternal question. Everyone just takes her word for it, I guess.

      Don't be offended by the lack of a Jewish virgin. According to that "brilliant" article on andalucia.com, they don't discriminate. The writer says "religious" virgins are hugely popular here; she doesn't say "Catholic" virgins. So there's still hope (not for you personally, I would imagine, but there's still hope)!

      Delete
  13. (Writing here 'cos I'm unable to add a reply to your comment above replying to my comment - if you know what I mean.)

    Right, nothing for it but an ice-cold shower for me now. Anything to dampen my 'arder - sorry, ardour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raybeard:
      Doesn't that last word end with an "n"?

      Delete
  14. Just another reason to return to Spain... parades, virgins on display and wet sailor suits....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon:
      Sorry I didn't get any shots of the wet sailor suits.

      Delete
  15. I don't much like virgins; they often have the look of an actress on stage imitating a cheap pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spo:
      I'm trying to figure out how one imitates a cheap pain... Well, I'm really trying to figure out what a "cheap pain" is.

      Delete

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