This year will commemorate the Marian Jubilee Year of the Virgin of El Rocio in Almonte (Huelva) and to mark this event a stamp is issued by Spanish post depicting the image of the Virgin adorned. Pope Benedict XVI declared The Marian Jubilee Year which will take place from August 2012 to September 2013.
The Jubilee is a religious event celebrated by the Catholic Church since 1300 and involves the pilgrimage to a place of worship to obtain the plenary indulgence after fulfilling certain rituals and obligations.
The pilgrimage festival known as Romeria or Fiesta del Rocio Grande devoted to the Virgin of El Rocio is held in the hamlet of El Rocio (Huelva) every year on Whit Monday. The celebration, religious and festive, draws pilgrims from all over the place.
The Marian Jubilee Year coincides with the transfer of the Virgin in procession from the hamlet of El Rocio to the village of Almonte. This transfer takes place every seven years when the people from Almonte carry on their shoulders the White Dove, as the Virgin is popularly known, along a 15 km walk. The effigy remains in Almonte for nine months and then returns to the shrine of El Rocio.
The Virgen del Rocio is a full size statue from the late 13th century. It dons robes of a rich brocade and embroidered fabrics with details of great beauty, and is embellished in gold ornaments, such as the half moon, the scepter and crown. When it is moved to the town of Almonte, it is dressed in a travelling gown known as Pastora dress (Shepherdess) with a flared skirt and short cape over the shoulders. The hair is curled under a hat adorned with silk flowers and ribbons. The infant Jesus is also dressed as a little shepherd.
The Marian Jubilee Year is a vast religious, cultural, tourist and traditional event in Andalusia.
The stamp is a design by Studio Manuel Ponce.