Ntra. Sra. de la Peña 2022

Patronal party

The municipality of Betancuria, host of the patronal festival of Fuerteventura, welcomes on the third Friday of September, the pilgrims who come to the Vega de Río Palmas, which becomes the heart of Fuerteventura, to enjoy the festival-pilgrimage to the Virgen de la Peña, cultural and social symbol of the island.

Presentation of the Program 2022

Virgen de la Peña [Our Lady of the Rock] is the patron saint of Fuerteventura. This white Gothic sculpture is one of the oldest Christian votive offerings on the island and the image most revered by locals. It is housed in a chapel with the same name, just outside the small village of Vega de Río Palmas. 

According to legend, it was near this location, in the Peña ravine, where the image appeared before San Diego, Friar Juan de Santorcaz and several shepherds.

Legend of the Virgen de la Peña

Popular traditions tend to prefer legendary and miraculous versions of their images. As mentioned earlier, the famous story behind the patron saint of Fuerteventura is about its miraculous discovery.

According to legend, San Diego asked a group of shepherds as to the whereabouts of Juan de Santorcaz, a Franciscan friar who enjoyed exploring dangerous, rocky paths. The shepherds replied that they did not know but that they had seen bright lights near the Palmas River ravine.

San Diego and the shepherds headed to the area around the ravine and found the body of Friar Juan at the bottom of the water, immersed in prayer. Upon taking him out, they realized that his clothes were dry. Friar Juan explained that he had slipped into the water, and as he fell, he prayed to the Virgin for a miracle.

The bright lights emerging from the La Peña continued, and San Diego, moved by divine inspiration, decided to break the rock, from which the white figure of Madonna and Child appeared. As of then, it was called the Virgen de la Peña.

The Virgen de la Peña, an image with closed eyes

The figure is housed in a sanctuary under a lovely coffered ceiling, tucked away in a niche framed by a silver-plated sun and a golden half-moon. Crowns have been placed on the heads of the Madonna and Child.

She holds the baby in her right arm as he appears to reach up to hug her. Part of the baby’s face, an arm and a leg, along with one of the mother’s hands, have broken off. However, all these imperfections are balanced out by the sweetness conveyed. An aspect that stands out is the oval-shaped, youthful face of the Virgin, who mysteriously has her eyes closed.

 

 

The Complete Program of September 2022

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