Exciting and enjoyable Festival in Cala Bona in July. A must see when on holidays.
It’s always nice to have one of those holidays where the daily planner is out of the window, everything is up-in-the-air and you are well and truly just going with the flow. Welcome to Cala Bona! Now that’s not to say you have nothing to keep you entertained, far from it. While on a trip to restock the cupboards while the family were busy having fun by the pool, the cashier asked me “my plans for the festival?”. Festival you say? Colour me intrigued, it turns out that there is some form of party going on here. Let’s find out what’s happening. On the weekend of 16th July, there was going to be a parade of sorts through the streets down to the harbour.
Locally this is known as Día de la Virgen del Carmen.
The Día de la Virgen del Carmen, July 16th, is celebrated in many of the villages and towns along the coast of Spain. We were lucky enough to find this fall in the middle of our stay here and from the Friday to the end of the festivities on the Sunday night, the village harbour was transformed!
So the story I got from some locals was that WAAAAY back in the day the prophet, Elias decided to hang out in a cave in Mount Carvelo. Then hundreds of years on, some pilgrims went to follow in the footsteps of the prophet and they would call on the protection of a Stella Maris AKA the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmelo AKA the Virgin of Carmen. The Virgin has since become a patron of fishermen and seafarers, and some say that the Virgin kept the waters safe and healthy and that only after July 16th do some followers actually swim in the sea.
Suddenly there appeared more stalls along the seafront, more amusements and rides for the kids. Face painting certainly covered some of the beetroot faces on show. Talented performers from local stage shows roamed the main street on the Friday and a nasty crew of pirates “terrorised” the tourists with some spectacular acrobatics and fire breathing tricks. The atmosphere was great and on the Sunday sailors and fishermen carried a statue of the Virgin through the streets, to the harbour where a small fleet of boats, brightly light and blasting noise awaited her arrival. As the sunlight faded, some prayers were said and the statue was placed on a vessel to head along the coast. Celebrations carried on late into the night and the bustling harbour was treated to an excellent fireworks display that was still blasting off as we took some wary travellers off to bed.
An unexpected treat for all and I’m now curious to find out if these festivities differ along the coastline but I have a feeling nothing will top that fortuitous first encounter in Cala Bona.