Pilgrimage of El Rocío
An annual pilgrimage that combines religious fervour and festivity. Its destination is the shrine of La Blanca Paloma in the village of El Rocío (17 kilometres from Almonte, in Huelva), and is held 50 days after the end of Easter Week, attracting hundreds of thousands of people. The route to the shrine is marked by high-spirited festivities featuring flamenco singing, dancing and shared picnics until the early hours of the morning. The most intense days come in the last week as the pilgrims approach Huelva. When they come to the village of El Rocío, they camp out to await the rest. On Saturday, the brotherhoods formed to honour the Virgin of El Rocio parade their pennant, known as 'el simpecado', followed on Sunday by a religious service. The climax comes at night with the event known as the 'salto de la verja' (scaling the railings), in which the participants scale the altar railings and bring out the Virgin, who is paraded all around the village on Monday.