Boats getting ready to leave Arguineguín harbour during the maritime procession at the Fiestas del Carmen

Las Palmas and Maspalomas have carnival but in the traditional fishing towns of Arguineguín and Mogán the Fiestas del Carmen is the big annual festival. Locals and people from all over Gran Canaria get together for a celebration that goeson for two weeks. The most spectacular event is the boat procession between the two harbours. 

The maritime procession at the Fiestas del Carmen, Arguineguín & Mogán

During the procession the icon of the Virgen del Carmen, believed to protect fishermen at sea and the Patron saint of the Spanish navy, is carried from the church to the harbour in Arguineguín. She is carefully loaded onto a traditional fishing boat and travels by sea to Mogán to meet up with her sister icon.

Laying of wreaths at El Pajar bay during the maritime procession at the Fiestas del Carmen

The tradition dates back over 50 years to before either town had a marina. It was originally a way of making sure the two towns kept in touch. Nowadays, with roads and ferry links, the procession is much bigger but still has its solemn moments. Flower wreaths are laid on the sea at El Pajar bay along the route to remember sailors lost at sea.

Fun in Mogán marina during the maritime procession at the Fiestas del Carmen

On the whole the Vigren del Carmen martime procession is a fun event with lots of music and dancing. One the procession reaches Mogán the barbeques start and most people have a dip in the sea.

The maritime procession at the Fiestas del Carmen

This year (2013) the procession happened on Sunday 21 July . We were there to enjoy the day and take lots of photos. To take part in 2014 head down to the harbour in Arguineguin in July and book a place on the boats. The ferries that travel the south coast are often your best bet. This year you get a second chance in 2013: The icon makes her way back from Mogán to Arguineguín on August 4.

As well as the maritime procession there are dances, concerts, fireworks and land processions during the July Fiestas del Carmen in Mogán and Arguineguín. It’s a great time to visit and join in with local life. Don’t forget to pop into our offices and say hello!