The residents of La Carihuela in Torremolinos were celebrating this week following the news that the annual procession of the Virgen del Carmen is to finally receive the status of Fiesta de Interés Turístico de Andalucía (a festival of touristic interest in Andalucía). Following several requests made by Torremolinos town hall over the past few years, the Diputacíon de Malaga (provincial government) is to bestow the coveted distinction on this popular tradition. The news was announced by Jacobo Florido, councillor for economic and productive development, who explained that the provincial government gives this distinction to those traditional customs that promote cultural tourism in the province of Malaga.
The procession of the Virgen del Carmen, which takes place on 16 July, is the most important and emotional day of the year for the residents of the former fishing district.
On this day, the image of the virgin, who is the patron saint of sailors and fishermen, is carried in procession through the streets of La Carihuela, before being taken out to sea, escorted by dozens of brightly-decorated fishing boats. This year an estimated 25,000 people attended the procession, making it one of the best-attended events after the Romería de San Miguel.
The feast of the Virgen of Carmen was very popular in the eighteenth century, and during the nineteenth century a small hermitage was erected to house the virgin, although the original image was destroyed during the Civil War.
The current image was produced by Malaga sculptor, Francisco Palma Burgos in 1940.