Most towns will hold the maritime procession on Saturday evening. / SUR

Costa del Sol gears up for weekend of festivities to honour the Virgen del Carmen

This celebration has a long tradition in the province of Malaga and each locality will have a slightly different schedule

Tony Bryant

Towns along the Costa del Sol are gearing up for a series of festivities this weekend in honour of the Virgen del Carmen, also known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Every 16 of July, celebrations are staged from Nerja to Estepona and will include lavish processions that culminate in the image of the Virgin Mary, decorated with floral offerings, being escorted out to sea by dozens of tiny fishing boats.

This is a special day for many of the towns that were originally fishing villages, as the Virgen del Carmen is the patron saint of fishermen; she is also the patron of the Spanish Navy.

This celebration has a long tradition in the province of Malaga and each locality will have a slightly different schedule, so it is best to check out the websites of the relevant town halls.

Malaga city has several processions. These take place in El Palo (Saturday), Huelin (Sunday) and the district of Pedregalejo (Saturday) and El Perchel (Sunday).

Some towns, like Rincón de la Victoria, Torremolinos (La Carihuela) and Los Boliches, hold a fair to coincide with the celebration.

The Rincón de la Victoria fair will be held between 15 and 17 July, with a programme of daytime and night time activities in Plaza Al Ándalus, along with large-format concerts in the municipal auditorium.

The fair in La Carihuela kicked off on Wednesday and continues until Saturday with a variety of entertainment and religious events; while the festivities in Los Boliches, which also began on Wednesday, will continue until Sunday 17 July.

This will be the first time in three years that this popular celebration will be held in its full capacity, although some towns have made slight changes to their schedules.

As in most towns, the main procession in Benalmádena takes place on Saturday 16, although the procession will embark on a new route along the promenade, which was renamed after the Virgin last year.

Marbella has also introduced an important change compared to previous editions, since the maritime procession will be held in the morning (6.30am) and not in the afternoon: there are also variations in the land procession, which this year will start from the Church of La Encarnación at 8pm.

The main festivities in San Pedro will begin at 7am on Saturday with the Rosario de la Aurora; while a mass will be held a 7pm in Calle La Morera, after which the iconic image will embark on its journey.