Faithful carry the Virgin of El Rocio after the traditional ‘jumping the fence’ for its procession at El Rocio Virgin Shrine, in the village of El Rocio Andalusia, Spain, early 10 June 2019.
Groups of worshippers do the “salto de la verja” (jump the fence) when they actually climb over the altar railings to reach the statue and carry it above their heads.
In the early hours of Pentecost Monday, the Virgin is brought out of her church by the Almonte hermandad, who claim her as their own.
A tussle ensues between the various other brotherhoods for the honour of carrying her to the next chapel, and so she journeys around the town, visiting all the hermandades‘ chapels, for the rest of the day.
Popularly known as La Paloma Blanca (the White Dove), she is an object of massive veneration in Andalucia, and huge crowds push and shove just to get the chance to touch the glass case in which the Virgin sits, as she sways dangerously from side to side. People even lift small babies up to touch her. This remarkable, chaotic event is always televised by Canal Sur, the Andalucian regional TV station.
The Rocio Pilgrimage is one of the most important traditions in the region. Every year devotes prepare their carriages to head in the direction of the El Rocio shrine to pay tribute to Our Lady of El Rocio.
Photos: EPA-EFE/JULIAN PEREZ