OCCULT SPAIN: ROMERÍA DE EL ROCÍO
The Most Revered Pilgrimage in Andalusia
May 26 — June 5, 2020
El Rocío pilgrimage, and surroundings, Doñana Nacional Park, Sevilla
Magdalena Solé was born in Spain and has returned almost every year since she was exiled from her home country at age seven. After college she went to Madrid to study dance at the legendary Flamenco School ‘Amor de Dios’. She remains fluent in Catalan and Spanish.
Occult Andalusia is a photographic exploration of Southern Spain. The region has a rich culture and a strong identity. It is the birthplace of Flamenco and home to the largest Roma (Gypsy) communities of Spain. Andalusia for most of its history was home to numerous cultures that lived fairly harmoniously. Muslims, Christians and Jews coexisted in a flourishing society. Many Arab influences in music and architecture remain to this day in Southern Spain.
Andalusia is a treat for photographers. Life happens outdoors. The festivals and pilgrimages are filled with music and dance. Exuberant celebrations of holy saints are saturated with occult symbolism. Old Roma traditions are inseparable from today's modern society. There are now between 750,000 and 950,000 Roma living in Spain, with 40% based in Andalucia. Roma are merging their lives with mainstream society after 600 years of persecution.
The focus of our trip will be the magnificent Rocío pilgrimage: "La Romería del Rocío". People arrive in oxen and horse drawn covered wagons from all over Andalusia and further. Its origins can be traced to the 15th century. The little sleepy town of El Rocío resembles for most of the year a ghost town in an old spaghetti western, snug against the Doñana Nacional Park, a sanctuary for migrating birds. During the Romería the town transforms and fills with horses, oxen, wagons, women in bright flamenco-style dresses, the traditional Andalusian costume, and men will proudly be wearing the 'traje corto' (short riding style jackets), and wide-brimmed hats.
Our journey will begin in Sevilla in the barrio de Triana, the old Roma neighborhood, where on the first evening we will attend a Flamenco performance in one of the most authentic Tablados 'El Gallo'.
The next day we will start our journey and follow the pilgrims on their way to El Rocío as they cross rivers, camp outside, and celebrate the sacred journey. All pilgrims arrive in el Rocío by Sunday, the Christian holy day of Pentecost.
The focus of this revelry is the tiny image of Nuestra Señora del Rocío (Our Lady of El Rocío), which was found in a marshland tree by a hunter from Almonte village back in the 13th century. When he stopped for a rest on the way home, the Virgin magically returned to the tree. Before long, a chapel was built on the site of the tree (El Rocío) and pilgrims started arriving to witness the culminating moment when the Madonna is removed from the church and carried through the streets.
The weekend reaches an ecstatic climax in the very early hours of Monday, when members of the :Almonte Hermandad", which claims the Virgin as its own, barge into the church and bear her out on a float, violent struggles ensue as others battle for the honor of carrying La Paloma Blanca (the White Dove) as they lovingly call the Virgin. The crush and chaos are immense, but somehow the Virgin is carried to each of the hermandad buildings before finally being returned to the church in the afternoon.
After the Virgin his safely placed back in the church, and the farewell mass is read, the pilgrims prepare for departure and the long journey home.
We will follow the pilgrims on their return home and greet them as they arrive in Sevilla on Thursday evening, when the Triana neighborhood is filled with joy and festivity. That evening will conclude our workshop, and everyone will depart the next morning.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
This workshop allows advanced and professional photographers alike to immerse themselves deep into the heart of Andalusian culture.
This workshop will appeal to anyone interested in pushing the limits of their photography. Whether you are a professional fine tuning your vision, a committed amateur or student wanting to learn new techniques and reach your potential, Magdalena's workshops have a reputation for being an intense and transformative learning experience.
Limited to 6-8 people
Round-trip airport transfers, every nights’ accommodations (based on double occupancy), and ground transportation..
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Air fares and meals/beverages. Personal expenses such as telephone calls, internet access, medical or evacuation expenses are also not included.
Expenses caused by factors beyond our control like airplane delays, roadblocks, vehicle malfunctions, political disturbances.
Single accommodation supplement, when available is US $600.
Your deposit of $800 is due to reserve your spot on the trip, and will be applied towards the cost of your tour.
The balance is due by November 31.
Please see our cancellation policy.
Please note that the travel costs for the trip might fluctuate before it is finalized due to rate changes beyond our control. We will make every effort to keep the costs the same.
Single Supplement $600
Maximum Group Size 8
May 26 — June 5, 2020
May 26 — June 5
Day 1 - 2 Sevilla
Day 2 - 4 El Rocío
Day 4 - 5 Matalascañas
Day 5 - 9 Villamanrique
Arrival and Departure Airport:
Please follow this link to the excellent Blog by France LeClerc who attended my workshop in 2019: