Origin of the Romería de los Dolores
The Pilgrimage of Dolores in Lanzarote is, as you can imagine, a religious festival.
In this case, the devotees of the Virgen de los Dolores commemorate a date that marked the history of the island.
It occurred in 1736, during the largest volcanic eruption to date in the Canary Islands. Although the lava devastated the island of Lanzarote, it was stopped from doing more damage thanks to a miracle by Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, according to the devotees.ç
So every year the Romería de los Dolores takes place in Lanzarote to thank the Virgin for her intervention in that catastrophe.
This story also explains why the Virgen de los Dolores is also known as the Virgin of the Volcanoes in Lanzarote.
When is the Romería de los Dolores in Lanzarote?
15 September is the day that, according to the Christian calendar, the festival of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores is celebrated. This is when the devotees of the Virgin celebrate the Romería of Dolores in Lanzarote.
However, the pilgrimage celebration is often changed to another date, depending on circumstances, so in 2023, the Romería de Los Dolores in Lanzarote takes place on Saturday 9 September.
Where is the Virgen de los Dolores in Lanzarote?
The Hermitage and Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores is located in the municipality of Tinajo, an inland town in the central west part of the island.
Its proximity to the Timanfaya National Park and the Tinguatón Volcano mean that much of the area of this municipality is covered with lava.
However, the Hermitage of Los Dolores is located in the town of Mancha Blanca, which belongs to Tinajo, and was built in 1781, 45 years after the great volcanic eruption.
As a curiosity, next to the church there is still the cross that signals the point where the lava diverted its course to save the populations of Tinajo and Mancha Blanca and prevent the catastrophe on the island being even greater.
How is the Romería of los Dolores celebrated?
Around 15 September, the day of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, the pilgrims arrive at Tinajo to begin the route of the Pilgrimage of Dolores in Lanzarote.
From there, they walk to the Church of San Roque, and finish the journey in the Hermitage of Dolores de Mancha Blanca.
The devotees who participate in the pilgrimage come from all over the island of Lanzarote – many of them starting their pilgrimage at dawn from other municipalities – and also from the other islands of the Canary archipelago, which means that security measures have to be strengthened on this date.
La Romería de los Dolores de Lanzarote is a very family-orientated festival brimming with colour, and it is not uncommon to hear popular songs along the way with guitars and timples, as well as other traditional instruments.
It is about nine o’clock at night when the pilgrims arrive at the Hermitage of los Dolores and this is when they are able to make their floral offerings and pray to the Virgin so that she will continue to protect them.