Lanzarote Boat Procession For Virgin Del Carmen

Around 200 boats joining the procession in Lanzarote (2023).
Around 200 boats joining the procession in Lanzarote (2023).

The "Virgin del Carmen" festival is a traditional maritime celebration that takes place in various coastal towns and villages across Spain and Latin America. One of the well-known locations where this festival is celebrated is in Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, which is a Spanish territory.

The festival is dedicated to the Virgin del Carmen, who is the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. The festival typically takes place on July 16th, although the exact date may vary from place to place, in 2023 the procession took place on Saturday the 12th of August. The main highlight of the Virgin del Carmen festival is a maritime procession that involves a statue of the Virgin del Carmen being carried on a fishing boat or a decorated vessel, accompanied by a flotilla of other boats. Many tourist boats which are normally used for diving, whale watching, dolphin trips and boat trips, even jet skis follow the "main" boat.

In Lanzarote, the Virgin del Carmen festival is particularly popular in coastal towns and villages such as Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, and others. The festival is a combination of religious devotion and cultural celebration. It usually begins with a religious ceremony, such as a Mass, to honour the Virgin Mary. After the ceremony, the statue of the Virgin del Carmen is taken to a boat, which is then set afloat on the sea.

The main boat, adorned with flowers, decorations, and sometimes even fireworks, is surrounded by a procession of other boats. These boats are often elaborately decorated as well, and participants may wear traditional maritime attire. The procession then sails along the coast, allowing people on land to watch and pay their respects. It's a symbolic gesture that signifies the protection of the Virgin Mary over fishermen and sailors, and it also serves as a way to bless the waters for a safe and bountiful fishing season.

Throughout the day, there are often additional festivities, including music, dancing, feasting, and other cultural activities. The Virgin del Carmen festival is not only a religious event but also a way for communities to come together, celebrate their maritime heritage, and strengthen their social bonds.

Overall, the Virgin del Carmen festival with boats in Lanzarote and other coastal areas is a unique and colourful celebration that blends religious devotion, maritime tradition, and community spirit. It's a time when locals and visitors alike can experience the rich cultural tapestry of these coastal communities.