The 400th Anniversary of the Brotherhood of Nuestra Señora de la Virgen Blanca in Vitoria-Gasteiz is being commemorated with the issue of a stamp depicting the Virgin and the metal and glass lanterns that accompany the procession.
The cult of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, also called Virgen Blanca, started in Vitoria with the founding of the city by King Sancho VI, the Wise, in 1181. Devotion to the Virgen Blanca led to the creation of the wax chandlers guild, the Brotherhood of Nuestra Señora de la Virgen Blanca in 1613. The Brotherhood has been strengthened over its four centuries of life by the support of the citizens of Vitoria and the festivals held in honour of the city's patron saint.
The statue of the Virgen Blanca holding the baby Jesus is of unknown authorship dating from the fourteenth century. It stands in a marble niche at the entrance to the church of San Miguel, a Gothic-Renaissance building constructed between the 14th and 16th centuries and designated as a site of Cultural Interest.
The Virgen Blanca was declared the patron saint of Vitoria in 1921, but the city council did not establish the present-day cycle of festivals until 1953. The saint's festival takes place on 5th August. The religious gatherings are organized by the Brotherhood of Nuestra Señora de la Virgen Blanca, the reason behind this particular issue.