Manilva’s Romeria 2013

The “Romeria” in Manilva is celebrated every year, normally in June and is a pilgrimage  in honor of the Virgin of Fatima from the Santa Ana church in Manilva to the tiny chapel (hermitage) “San Adolfo” near to the Roman Baths. This year’s festival will take place on the weekend of the 8th & 9th June.
The chapel, along with the land surrounding it, was bequeathed to the Parish of Santa Ana, Manilva many years ago and since then, has been maintained and cared for by the two brotherhoods of Manilva. It is a beautiful little chapel, tucked away in the middle of nowhere.. If you go up the road where the Sunday market is (past Lidls) and just keep going, you will eventually come to the chapel.

The Romeria begins on the Saturday evening when the statue of the Virgin is transferred from the Santa Ana church to the San Adolfo chapel. This is an event worth watching or even better, taking part in. Some years the statue was carried on a cart pulled by a horse or ox but some years, the tradition moves with the times, and the cart, which is beautifully ordained with flowers, is pulled by a tractor.


It is accompanied by several horseman and woman, all dressed in traditional costume. The procession passes through many of the village streets before beginning the decent down to the chapel.


Traditionally, the parishioners follow the procession on foot – easily an hours walk…

Once installed in the chapel, the virgin is blessed and prayers are said. Now the party begins (well, it wouldn’t be a Spanish fiesta without a party!!) In the grounds surrounding the chapel, a bar serving drinks and tapas is set up and live music is performed until very late. As I’ve said before, the Spanish know how to party, and many people camp overnight in the grounds, ready to start again the next day!!

On Sunday morning at 12.00, the Mass in honor of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated. The Santa Ana church choir and the municipal band take part. The small church is usually overflowing, with people coming from far and wide to take part.  After the mass, there is a huge barbecue. Everyone sets up tables and chairs (or just a rug on the grass) and there’s plenty of eating and drinking. It’s a fantastic family fun atmosphere – you almost forget that it is really a deeply religious festival.  The party continues late into the night with music and dancing.
The Romeria is not in the “San Juan” league as festivals go, but its still a fantastic party. You should really go at least once.