My Favorite Virgin


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.

I had to take this photo on the are most definitely NOT permitted in this church.

My favorite virgin, La Virgin del Rocio. I had to take this photo on the DL…photos are most definitely NOT permitted in this church.

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.

The Virgin watching over every corner of her town.

The Virgin watching over every corner of her town.

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?

My Rocio far.

My Rocio collection…so far.

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.

4 thoughts on “My Favorite Virgin

  1. izzih says:

    I was trying to explain the concept of virgins to my British friend the other day, and kept coming up with things like “Andalucians love virgins!”. Didn’t quite go as planned.

    I am also a non-Catholic, but I really like religious iconography – especially Catholic and Greek Orthodox. The models of the virgins in churches are always so kitschy and the virgin pasos in Semana Santa are always my favourite parts, with the flowers and the candles.

    ps. you are going to freak out with the patios – UNBELIEVABLE GORGEOUS. I took like 600 photos in a day.

    • ebostick1212 says:

      Yeah, same with me. When I tried to explain Semana Santa, virgins, and hermandades to my dad, I couldn’t get past how creepy I sounded talking about all the virgins being carried through the streets by the brotherhoods etc. I’m sure my dad just thought I had gone crazy or something.

  2. izzih says:

    by unbelievable gorgeous, I obviously mean unbelievably gorgeous. really must get better at proof reading!! I think I was a bit overexcited thinking about the patios…

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