“Virgen del Carmen” celebrations
Towns and villages across Lanzarote are getting ready to celebrate the annual Canarian festival of “Virgen del Carmen” (Our Lady of the Sea), the patron saint of sailors and fishermen, this July. For many centuries residents of the Island were dependent on fishing as their main source of income and food so this festival remains a very important celebration for them.
Most of the festivities take place at the Plaza del Varadero in Puerto del Carmen. A procession, carrying a statue of the Virgin, travels from Avenida Papagayo to Playa Pequeña and from there it boards a fishing boat. The main boat carrying the statue is then followed by a number of other boats, large and small.
The "Virgen del Carmen" is also celebrated in other villages on Lanzarote:
The festival is celebrated at the beginning of July in the town of Teguise. The people of the town organise an annual procession, folk performances, Lucha Canaria (Canarian wrestling) and a craft fair. Particularly breathtaking though are the events organised on the island of La Graciosa, where the second largest boat procession, after Puerto del Carmen, takes place.
PUERTO DEL CARMEN:
During the first week of August, when the Lanzarote fishermen usually returned from the coasts of Africa, the residents of Puerto del Carmen celebrate the "Virgen del Carmen" festival. The Plaza del Varadero in the old harbour is packed with stalls selling ornaments and antiques where young and old come to enjoy themselves. The statue of the Virgin accompanies the fishermen on a procession in the sea.
There are two processions scheduled in Playa Blanca to honour the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, one on land and one at sea. A Eucharistic ceremony will be held on both procession days at 19.00pm in the Catholic Church in Playa Blanca.
Fiestas del Carmen on La Graciosa (8th to 17th of July):
2012 marks a special anniversary for Lanzarote’s sister island La Graciosa as it is 25 years since the parish on the island was established.
The island is home to a beautiful church, Parrogia Virgen del Mar (Our Lady of the Sea) that has stood in Caleta del Sebo since 1945 but it wasn’t until the population of the island increased that it became a parish. The interior of the church is full of references to the sea, including fish shaped candlesticks, and the Virgen del Mar stands in a model of a fishing boat fixed to the wall.
If you have time it is well worth a visit. Immediately after the Fiestas del Carmen the Fiestas de San Felipe will take place, details can be seen below.
Programme of most important days 2012:
Monday 16th July - Dia de Nuestra Señora de la Virgen del Carmen
13.00 Reflective religious ceremony and offering to the Virgen del Carmen. Please bring non- perishable items of food that will be donated, through Cáritas, to the needy of the parish.
18.00 Celebration of the word (Celebración de la Palabra) in the church followed by a procession to the boat “Multimar” where a floral wreath will be laid in memory of those who have died at sea. The procession will be followed by a folklore performance by La Gran Aldea de Teguise and a Verbena with Los Conejeros in the harbour.
Tuesday 17th of July
20.00- Eucharistic ceremony followed by a procession to El Salao for a fireworks display. After the fireworks display there will be singing of canto de la Salve in the church followed by a bonfire (quema del muñeco El Italiano) before finishing the fiesta in front of the plaza de la Iglesia.