May 9, 2013 by ebostick1212
The majority of Spaniards are Catholic, and I think I may unintentionally be becoming one via osmosis. I can’t help but love the pageantry of the Catholic church. I looked at it in sort of a skewed way, as it isn’t my faith, but I have slowly but surely been adopting Catholic interests. As a non-Catholic, I sometimes feel like an imposter.
Spanish people have such a reverence for Christ’s mother, that she often takes several forms. La Virgen de la Macarena, Ezperanza de Triana, La Virgin de la Almudena; Spaniards often identify with one specific virgin, depending on their hermandad affiliation, or who their parents favored.
Over the course of several months, I have fallen in love with one specific virgin. La Virgen del Rocío has become my patron. I don’t know why I have such a reverence for her, or why I find her so interesting, but I can assure you, it doesn’t have a lot to do with religion. I just…like her. I am drawn to her and it’s inexplicable.
One of my guilty pleasure movies is the cheesy, yet oh-so-satisfying expat chick flick, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. Diane Lane’s character is renovating her villa in Tuscany, and she begins to develop a kinship with Maria, stating that Maria is more like a favorite aunt watching over her, rather than a religious figure. I guess I can say the same for me.
La Virgen del Rocío was the first virgin I ‘met’ here in Spain, and I feel a connection with her. Maybe it’s the fact that she is so ancient, and yet so gorgeous. Or maybe it’s the power she has over thousands of people, all of whom flock to her during her pilgrimage, known as La Romería (presumably for more religious reasons than mine.) Maybe it is all just in my head and I am searching for a mother figure. Who knows?
While I am not making the pilgrimage next weekend, I certainly plan on going in the future. I’d love to see the people, in traditional dress, following the Virgin in their custom-made Romería carriages. Unfortunately, I’ve had to pick and choose this year, and chose to see the upcoming Patios of Córdoba. However, I am confident that one day I, too will make the pilgrimage to the pueblo blanco El Rocío to visit my adopted patron once again.
So, while I am not a Catholic, I am starting to exhibit the symptoms of one. I don’t think I will convert in the future or anything, but there are bits and pieces of the culture here that is unavoidable, and I have actually come to enjoy.