"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).