Declared a tourist attraction since 2003.
The main and most popular celebration in Cantillana is held around 8 September each year, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Institute’s Main Solemn Event takes place in the morning, bringing together the largest number of worshippers in Cantillana and its region.
On this same day, at nightfall, the revered image of the Divine Shepherdess of the Souls is taken from the Parish Church in solemn procession through the town’s main streets accompanied by her devotees. The streets are decorated with flags, lights and triumphal arches. The highlight of the procession takes place in the popular Martín Rey Street, where the Shepherdess hat worn by the Virgin Mary is removed by a priest to the ecstatic enthusiasm of the entire town.
Other age-old events take place around that date, including a solemn novena in honour of the Shepherdess of Souls that begins on the first Saturday of September and ends on the second Sunday. These church services take place at the Parish’s High Altar. An 18th-century altar known as “Risco”, devoted to the Shepherdess, is placed in front of the altarpiece. Cantillana is the only place in the world where this tradition remains alive. The whole temple, in turn, is decorated with rich, red velvet damask hangings, myriad crystal chandeliers and other items.
To round off the religious services, on the last weekend of September, the Confraternity of the Divine Shepherdess of the Souls celebrates the traditional Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Divine Shepherdess. The Confraternity owns the Shrine located in the hamlet of Los Pajares in the municipality of Cantillana.
A silver cart takes the “Simpecado de la Divina Pastora” to the Shrine accompanied by thousands of pilgrims and hundreds of horse riders, dressed in traditional costumes. The event brings together thousands of pilgrims and horse riders, making it the most multitudinous and famous in the region. Interestingly, the Rules of the Confraternity state that, on the years ending in 0 or 5, the statue of the Virgin Mary should be carried to the Shrine instead of the “Simpecado”.
September. The procession on the 8th, and the Pilgrimage on the last weekend.