There’s something that transcends the purely religious when it comes to the beachside Dawn Mass that starts a day of festivities every 16th July in Marbella Town, honouring the Virgen del Carmen, protector of fishermen and Marbella’s patron saint.
There’s absolutely none of the sense of formality you get within the confines of a church but one of a unified local community, gathering as one, barefoot around an altar in the sand.
Perhaps it’s the natural setting but you get a feeling of witnessing and participating in a more primal ritual – a ceremony of gratitude for the simple things in life, the blessings of good health, and the love of family and friends, departed and presently in our lives. A homage of respect to the force of nature in the guise of the sea. A celebration drenched with devotion for the Virgen del Carmen and her role of mother-protector but a devotion expressed as joy.
This is the feeling it transmits to me at least and the reason why out of all the festivities, I chose to join in the celebrations again this year. Here are some photos I took, as I embraced this enchanting early-morning ritual and felt equally embraced by the simplicity of spirit and the overwhelming sense of unity that pervades…