Get to know when, where and how the Festival Virgen del Carmen is celebrated.
Summer in Gran Canaria means holidays, leisure and relaxation, but it’s also synonymous with fiestas and popular celebrations that take place in July on the island. One of the most famous ones, which attracts thousands of people, is the Festival de la Virgen del Carmen.
The festival is very popular in one of the island's neighbourhoods, La Isleta, which is decked out from top to bottom during the month of July to welcome its patron saint.
However, the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen takes on a different dimension in the south of Gran Canaria. In the municipality of Mogán, specifically in Arguineguín and Puerto de Mogán, locals and tourists come together to take the image of the virgin to the shore.
Today we’re going to bring you closer to the most popular traditions of Gran Canaria with this festivity which attracts thousands and thousands of people from different parts of the island, as well as tourists who want to get to know the most traditional side of the island.
Origin of the Virgen Del Carmen
The day of El Carmen takes place on 16 July, but the origin of this popular festivity is unknown.
We have to go back to the 13th century, more specifically to 16 July 1251, when the Virgin of Carmen appeared to Simón Stock who, brimming with religious passion, lived devoted body and soul to her image.
The origin of the carving isn’t entirely clear. It was found in the Hospital de San Martín in the Vegueta neighbourhood and was taken to the La Isleta neighbourhood in 1913.
The image is a dress carving, by an anonymous author, 1.20 metres high and modified by another anonymous author in the 20th century. The Virgen del Carmen is dressed in the traditional Carmelite scapular, given by her to Simón Stock.
Programme of the Carmen festivities
The Virgen del Carmen is the patron saint of sailors and is celebrated in the fishermen's neighbourhoods of Arguineguín and Playa de Mogán.
The month of July begins with the traditional Bajada de la Rama in the neighbourhood of Arguineguín, walking through the main streets of the neighbourhood to the sound of music. A festival that brings together locals and tourists who want to enjoy a different kind of festivity.
In the middle of the month, the religious ceremony and procession through the streets takes place, where the sailors dressed entirely in white carry the image of the Virgin on their shoulders to the emblematic beach of Las Marañuelas, while singing traditional songs.
At the end of the main event of the Fiestas del Carmen, the image of the Virgin is placed on the boat by the sailors to drive around the port. On that day, the boats are decked out to celebrate the big day of the festivities.
Where to stay to enjoy the Carmen festival
If you want to enjoy one of the most popular festivities in Gran Canaria, at Dunas Hotels & Resorts we have the best hotels to stay with family or friends.