Make a pilgrimage to a distinction, the example of the Rocio

“Traditions festive, economic stakes and social distinctions in the pilgrimage andalusian el Rocío “, Maxime Hauberk, contemporary Societies, 2008

Rocío is both the name of the Virgin in the honor of which is the pilgrimageto The Virgen del Rocío , or Nuestra Señora del Rocío, that is to say, of the Dew), one of the hamlet which developed around the shrine, fifteen kilometers of Almonte, and one of the pilgrimage itself.

The Rocio appears as a concentrate of folklore and festive by the clothes “typical” of a large number of pilgrims (for the woman, for example, the long dress with ruffles, called gitana , or flamencowith a shawl, a flower in the hair and the ears large loops of color ; for men, the traje corto, jacket without collar, stopping at the waist and pants protected for riders by zahones leather apron crafted that leg extend up to the boots), the fandangos and the sevillanas (a kind of séguedilles very popular in the area) that you can dance at any time to the sound of fifes and drums for the verses (coplas rocieras) who sing on the different times of the Rocío, or, again, by the ritual endlessly repeated invitations to drink and share tapas. The pilgrimage seems to be a replica of the feria (spring fair) in Seville.

Maxime Hauberk dread this pilgrimage through the differences of behavior between the participants according to their social positions and respective, especially in relation to the expenditures made and the respect for a tradition allegedly for centuries. Expenditure on “excessive” which engaged many participants in the Rocío, or rocieros, have often been criticized. Especially those who own or rent the Rocío a large residence that they do not use the limit only for the few days of the pilgrimage, where they greeted brightly, a large number of guests (up to several tens), which they provide not only lodging and food, but also entertainment (including possibly recruiting for the occasion of small musical groups), and sometimes even horses parade (because of the house visits will be designing for this group as it perched in the clothes typical on a horse, even for a few tens of meters). But it is also the case at the other end to the day labourers in agriculture, which in respect of their salary, spend up to a month of salary during the pilgrimage, and this although they often work a few months per year.

From the three surveys (1974, 1989 and 2003) with participants in the pilgrimage, the author has sought to give a more accurate view of these expenses. The expenditures have been divided into six categories : (1) Contributions to the hermandades (regular contributions or exceptional gifts if any) ; (2) Transportation (vehicles “typical” and draught animals, mounts, trailers and tractors, motor vehicles, public transport) ; (3) Housing (prices for hotel rooms or pension, effective rents, or, in the case of owner-occupied housing, imputed rent calculated as a pro rata of days of use for the pilgrimage) ; (4) Clothing, retaining only the clothes “typical” ; (5) Food and drink, the family unit considered as to its possible guests ; (6) Spending lavishly various (service staff, musicians, horses acquired or leased only for the “walk” in the hamlet, peck, etc).

The author establishes that the terms and conditions of participation in the pilgrimage are socially very biased. The average amount of the expenses of those who live in a particular house is equivalent to one year of salary against a dozen of days for the daily workers. The daily expenditure amounted to the equivalent of two month’s salary. It is noted that the expenditure for the pilgrimage may vary from less than one daily minimum wage to more than 4 000.

The update of the three main motifs of the pilgrimage sheds light on the challenges the symbolic, especially in terms of prestige. The reason the religious do not justify that expenditure relatively modest. On the grounds of religious, is united to the motive of the recreation.

Many participants come to the Rocío to spend a few hours or a weekend with their loved ones to amuse himself, or attend an “event” folk. But this can be also a lot of those who do the camino, for which, especially as regards the small farmers and the workers of the brotherhoods in rural, pilgrimage is often the only “holiday” that they take, or even can take in the year. The pilgrimage is also the creator of social link, as such, it is a wonderful opportunity of fellowship between at least a portion of the inhabitants of the locality or neighbourhood. The third major motive for participation is the ostentation and possibly the acquisition of symbolic capital that has even more value as it is in some way stamped by religion and tradition. It is this third reason which explains the major part of the variance of expenditure. If there is a struggle between the different brotherhoods, who are vying for the costliness of their sacred objects, it is within them that the rivalry is the greatest. Within the brotherhoods, there is a strong competition for access to the most prestigious charges, particularly that of hermano mayor, even if it can assume to pay from her own funds a more or less large part of the costs of the pilgrimage.

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