The Virxe de Nosa Señora da Barca shrine is one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in Galicia. Legend holds that the Virgin journeyed to this place to support St. James the Apostle in his evangelism. She sailed in a stone boat, the remains of which lie amongst the wave-battered granite rocks next to the shrine. One of them is the Pedra dos Cadrís, symbolising the boat. Pilgrims pass under it nine times in an ancient ritual to cure rheumatism. Another rock, symbolising the sail, is the Pedra de Abalar, which pilgrims can rock with their feet if they show a little patience, although legend has it that only those free of sin can make it move. The third, the Pedra do Temón, symbolises the boat’s tiller. They are all believed to have healing properties.
The romería pilgrimage to Nosa Señora da Barca is one of the most popular in Galicia. As is often the case in such pilgrimages, it blends religion, pagan rituals, outdoor food, and entertainment. Starting on Saturday, the path leading to the shrine becomes a non-stop procession of people, many of them having walked from their hometowns, and the stalls of the festival are put up. The pilgrims can enjoy an outdoor meal to the sound of bagpipes and tambourines. The entertainment continues at night in town and on Sunday morning, the faithful attend an outdoor mass at the shrine and the procession to the town where the blessing of the water ceremony takes place with a deafening fireworks display.