Our Lady of Mount Carmel, commonly called La Virgin del Carmen, is one of several invocations of the Virgin Mary. As the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, La Virgin del Carmen holds a prominent place among fishermen, symbolizing the determination, suffering and bravery of those who endure the harshness of the sea and risk their lives to provide for their families. The feast day celebrating the Virgin is July 16. After mass at Santa Catalina Church, the celebration continues with a procession to Playa Arenal where the priest gives a blessing and then a statue of the Virgin is placed aboard a boat and taken on a trip around the bay.
Yesterday morning the fishermen were inside and outside the church in the square for mass when we drove by on our way for a walk at Playa Arenal. Fireworks, announcing the celebration began at 8:00 and were set off intermittently, although briefly for the rest of the day. Normally on a weekday morning all the boats would be out in the bay and beyond, fishing and carrying people over to Isla Iguana. When we arrived at the beach there were only two boats being pushed out into the water and the rest were on shore; awaiting the arrival of the faithful and of La Virgin del Carmen later in the morning.