Flamenco and Fervor: Inside Spain’s El Rocío Pilgrimage

“You can’t wear that flamenco dress for the El Rocío pilgrimage, Bonita,” Maria Cárdenas, our Airbnb host, said with a laugh. “You’ll die in the heat.”

She pinched the thick red fabric between her thumb and held it up to my face like a specimen. “You see? Heavy tight dresses like this are made for the festivals at the bullring in Seville city,” she explained. “You need lightweight stretchy polyester for pilgrimages — for riding, walking, dancing, siestas in the grass.”

The El Rocío pilgrimage is a high-octane religious spectacle — a multiday annual fiesta, held in Andalusia, the southernmost region in Spain — of flamenco dresses, caravans and religious fervor

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