Tradition has it that the Carmelite monks, who inhabited the slopes of Mount Carmel and worshipped the Virgin Mary who had appeared there in a vision, were forced to flee by a Saracen invasion force.
During this eviction the Virgin appeared to them again and promised to be their “Star of the Sea” and to guide them to safety.
Since then she has been the patron saint of mariners and as such, La Virgen del Carmen is revered amongst the local fishing communities of southern Spain.
On her feast day, the 16th July, statues of the Virgen del Carmen are carried through the streets of costal fishing villages.
The statues are then placed on board the local fishing boats and paraded up and down the coast accompanied by flotillas of fishing boats and pleasure craft.
They will often come close to shore to allow worshippers to swim out and throw flowers on board.