Virgin of Carmen, patron saint of fishermen

July 16 is the day of the Virgin of Carmen, patron saint of fishermen, the Star of the Seas who takes care of sailors on the high seas and guides them to port.

Every year, on July 20 the Barceloneta Fishermen’s Guild celebrates the festival of the Virgin of Carmen, the patron saint of seafarers.
The image of the Virgen del Carmen is taken to the parish of Sant Miquel in a procession to the Moll dels Pescadors. There, the figure is embarked on one of the boats and, accompanied by the rest of the fleet in procession, travels through the waters of the port. Afterwards, a mass presided over by the Virgin is offered at an improvised altar on the dock, where offerings are made to her. Finally, the party closes with a performance by a choir from Barceloneta.
The purpose of the ritual is to honor the Virgin of Carmen to ask her for protection from the dangers of the sea.


The origin of the festival of the Virgin of Carmen as the patron saint of sailors is found in the legend that tells that the Virgin saved an English ship adrift in the middle of a terrible storm. In the midst of desperation, one of the sailors went out to pray, tore off the scapular of the Carmelite order and threw it into the sea. That caused the storm to stop immediately.
In the 18th century, the Mallorcan Admiral Antoni Barceló Pont de la Terra promoted this festival among his men and the sailors immediately made her their patron saint and began to call her ‘Stella Maris’. Little by little the devotion spread among the sailors and slowly replaced Saint Elmo, who had traditionally been the original patron saint of Catalan navigators and sailors.

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