La Palma’s Bajada de La Virgen Festival: A Tradition Since 1676
Ever since 1676, the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands has been home to the widely respected tradition of the Bajada de La Virgen. Every five years, this esteemed event observes the Virgin of Las Nieves, the island’s patron saint, making her way from the Royal Sanctuary to the hub of the island’s capital. The centuries-old tradition is notably adored, drawing a significant number of Palmeros, former residents of the island, back to their home soil. They journey back to join in accompanying their cherished patron saint along the slightly more than two-kilometre route.
From the onset of June, a variety of public festivities take place, marking the excitement leading up to the main event. These celebrations include time-honoured activities such as the flag hoisting, the descent of the throne, the Virgin’s downhill journey, and the popular dwarf dance. Additional events that generate considerable attention include the traditional minuet, the captivating pandorgas, acrobat performances, and the enchanting float procession. A remarkable spectical of the festivities is the engaging dialogue enacted between the representation of the Virgin’s castle and a vessel. This long-held tradition provides a unique cultural experience for all participants and spectators.