MARE DE DEU DEL CARMEN
A saint’s day that is significant because Carmen as the Mother of God is the patron saint of all sea faring people. St Peter might be special to fishermen but Carmen looks after all who use the sea in whatever capacity.
On 15th July every year the Port of Soller holds its own special tribute to Carmen and it takes this form:
The fiesta of Mare de Deu del Carmen takes place on 15th July each year
At 20.30 a Mass is said at the Port of Soller Church and there is usually an effigy of Carmen in situ. Many local people attend this service because in one way or another they all have connections with the sea. You cannot fail to be connected if you live in the Port of Soller.
The statues are then processed to the Harbour and loaded on to a procession of small boats. Meanwhile earlier in the day flares are dug into the sand surrounding the bay. There are more flares that ever in the Port of Soller now that the beach has been extended.
The procession by boat starts around 9 pm and then around 10 pm the Port of Soller is plunged into darkness and the electricity is cut off round the bay. The only light comes from the flares that are lit all around the beach. So to the darkened Port illuminated by the flares the Mare de Deu de Carmen comes. She gently sweeps the bay until coming back to rest at the Santa Catalina end of the Port of Soller.
The lights come back on and a family fiesta takes place with people meeting on the beach for picnics and gatherings. Very low key and gentle with an acknowledgment that Carmen does a pretty good job of looking after those who need her.