El Hierro’s most famous festival happens every 4 years. (La bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes) July 3rd 2021 was supposed to be the day and the Islanders were excited for the big event. Dressing up their houses with decorations and honouring the history behind the event. This year, however, the event has become the latest victim of Covid-19.
This week instead of Float On’s usual shenanigans, we’d like to share with you the history and event that should have occurred over the weekend. It was supposed to be filled with celebration, traditional dress and families coming together from all over the world.
Virgen de los Reyes – Virgin of the Kings (Crowned May 17th 1953) – Patron Saint of El Hierro
Let’s start right at the beginning shall we… Why does this festival happen on El Hierro? ‘The end of the world’ we like to call it. It all started with a ship. A ship that wanted to cross to the Americas in 1546. After many days waiting for a weather window, they ran out of food and were forced to go ashore to beg for more. The shepherds back then provided enough food for their journey, just like the people of El Hierro would have done today. They, in return, received the only item of value aboard. A picture, or religious icon of The Virgin Mary.
Skip forward to May 17th 1953, the crowning of Virgen de los Reyes. The shepherds were struggling through a great drought, livestock failing and locals devastated. After all these years of respect of this image and the meaning behind it, they hoped it would bring some relief and help in their time of need. The shepherds marched with the image to Caracol cave to ask for water. Before they reached their destination in Valverde (the islands capital) A miracle! Torrential rain!
The inhabitants of the island were in a word, ‘saved’.
So, let’s skip forward again… 4 years ago a beautiful festival took place here. Honouring Virgen de los Reyes. Dance, laughter, joy, respect and enjoyment of the history of El Hierro.
Check out this link and others on YouTube! It is a beautiful sight to see!
On Saturday 3rd July, we begged for a rental car after Kika had a bit of an emergency last week. We got one! Martin still not able to get off the boat with his back, didn’t get to witness the scenes of many houses, apartments, streets, which had been decorated with images of Virgen de los Reyes. Lots of businesses closed out of what we can only believe to be is respect for the miracle from 1953. However, I also felt some sadness. The people of El Hierro could not celebrate something so precious to them. It’s a sad fact of the last one and a half years.
What happened over the weekend then? Well… nothing. Nothing happened. Just like our day-to-day life at the moment. Martin, 3 weeks later not having stepped foot off the boat. Trapped you could call it. Both of us really! We wanted to come up with a new and exciting episode for all our amazing subscribers but whatever ideas we had, we thought wouldn’t come up to par for our YouTube channel. (We’ve come to terms with the fact we’re no sailing channel ;D)
This week, that is all folks…. It’s something new for us and has actually been a real pleasure trying something new and would love to hear what everyone thinks of Amy’s dodgy writing! (And whether she should try doing it again)
Lots of love,
Amy, Martin, Bam Bam & Kika