el rocío pilgrimage

EL ROCÍO GIPSY PILGRIMAGE                                           in 30 pictures     (aug 2015)

 

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The whole year round, the tiny dusty village of El Rocío in Andalusian southern Spain is almost deserted. Except during Pentacost from Saturday untill Monday, when the “Romería del Rocío” pilgrimage in honor for the Virgen del Rocío takes place. It is one of the biggest pilgrimages in Europe or even the world. Already days before the gipsys and Brotherhoods (Hermandades) are arriving from all over Spain, dressed in beautifull flamenco-style costumes. For four long days, day and night, one million people gather in the sandy unpaved streets. Holy ceremonies in church and on the open fields, lasting many hours under the baking sun. But also fiestas with flamenco music, singing and dancing, eating and drinking. Joy, emotional tears, deep devotion, pride and sensuality. Consolidation of old frienships and making new ones. Falling in love. Being a pilgrimage devoted to the Virgen del Rocío, it is in fact not only a religious  fiesta, but equally a celebration of life.

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All pictures are taken with the Fuji xe2 and 18-55/2.8-4.0 lens. The night photographs did not suffer all to much from focus hunting. Luckily things go slowly. The series is done in JPG at ISO 4000, 2/3 stops underexposed preventing to much blown out highlights. Postprocessing in Lightroom.

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the candle chapelroc 7 DSCF6345

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People come from all over Spain, on horses, with carriages and walking. This can take weeks of traveling. Sleeping is done in the woods. Coming near the South, the pilgrim groups join together forming huge processions of many thousands and more. Spectacular colourfull images, softened by walking dust, seen from far away.

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flamenco musicroc 15 DSCF6827

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fiesta of colorsroc 19 DSCF6689

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The absolute highpoint starts after Saturday-midnight when (the statue of) the Virgen del Rocío comes out of church between the croud. The heavy statue is carried by groups of men from the Brotherhoods, each group carrying Her some 100 meters. She is that heavy!  The Virgen goes through all the village streets, the procession lasting all night and morning long untill noon next Sunday. When placed back in church every one of these million people want to come in at the same time, seeing, touching, devoting Her. It seems that the statue now is transformed with a living quality. All an impressive experience of human faith.

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Black&White section  in 5 pictures

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emotional tearsroc 31 DSCF7430-2bw

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for portfolio and more press for  HOMEPAGE

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