What’s the story behind Madrid’s San Isidro fiesta?

It’s when the town celebrates one in all its patron saints (Madrid has two), which implies it’s a public vacation when it falls on every week day, so all the faculties, companies and family-run retailers are closed.

The social gathering often will get began on the weekend earlier than when the town lays on actions, concert events, parades and heaps of enjoyable.

After two tough years, San Isidro celebrations are again so for those who’re going to be in Spain’s capital on May fifteenth, right here’s what look ahead to and the story behind one in all Madrid’s greatest celebrations.

Who is San Isidro?

In the church of San Isidro lie the embalmed stays of Madrid’s most well-known patron saint, Isidro the Labourer,  explains Felicity Hughes creator of The Making of Madrid blog and historic Madrid tour information.

This varnished bag of bones mendacity on a mattress of white satin, his modesty lined by a flag embroidered with the town’s heraldry, shouldn’t be doing too badly contemplating it’s getting on for 1,000 years since he kicked the bucket.

Kept in a coffin with 9 locks that solely the King holds the important thing to, he hasn’t had a public airing since 1985. Probably all for one of the best as he’s been knocked a couple of bit through the years. Charles II had one in all his enamel extracted so he might place it underneath his pillow and profit from the saint’s good juju, and it’s even rumoured {that a} woman within the courtroom of Isabella I of Castille bit off his toe, presumably hoping to acquire a few of his magical powers for herself.

So why all of the fuss? Well the miracles wrought by Isidro throughout his lengthy lifetime have been fairly spectacular, apparently, he bought angels to plough the fields for him, introduced forth springs out of parched earth, and conjured meals out of skinny air.

Isidro’s life is commemorated yearly on May fifteenth when Madrid holds an extended weekend of festivities. Saint Isidro isn’t Madrid’s solely saint, nevertheless, the feminine patron saint of the town is the Virgin of the Almudena and her saint’s day is well known on November ninth.

Traditional festivities

On the saint’s day of May fifteenth, the La Pradera de San Isidro (the San Isidro Meadow) nonetheless attracts households to make a pilgrimage that dates again practically 1000 years, with the demise of the saint.

At Midday the Church of San Isidro will host a Grand Mass after which the Archbishop of Madrid and his entourage make their approach from the church to the San Isidro meadow to bless the water from the spring that also flows to today.

Traditionally pilgrims go to on today to drink from the spring uttering the phrases “San Isidro hermoso,/ patrón de Madrid,/ que el agua del risco / hiciste salir”. (“Beautiful Saint Isidro, Patron Saint of Madrid, you made water spring from the craggy ground”).

Later, a parade of the statues of San Isidro and his spouse, Santa Maria de la Cabeza, are paraded via the streets, from Calle del Sacramento to the Plaza de la Villa, through Calle del Cordon.

Nowadays Parque de San Isidro is was an enormous competition website, with a funfair, outside eating places, numerous phases with dancing and reside music.

But the enjoyable isn’t restricted to Parque San Isidro, there’s additionally dancing in La Latina’s Jardin de Las Vestillas, there’s open air concert events in Plaza Mayor, classical music at Temple de Debod, fireworks in Parque Enrique Tierno Galván a pottery honest in Plaza Commendadores and occasions on the Planetarium and Matadero.

For full schedule of digital festivities try City Hall’s guide HERE

Food and drink

As with each Spanish fiesta there’s a conventional food and drinks related to San Isidro. Lemonade must be sipped on the picnic – however no peculiar lemonade… the San Isidro model comes with wine, lemon, sugar and chopped apples.

The conventional pastry is the rosquillas. A candy donut type-biscuit that is available in totally different varieties. Las Listas (Clever ones) have a dousing of icing sugar on high, Las Tontas – (silly ones) are made with egg. Las de Santa Clara, have a layer of meringue and Las Francesas are made with almonds.

Families will unfold out their desk cloths within the San Isidro park or arrange tables on the streets of l. a. Latina for lunchtime feasts.

Also look out for kiosks promoting calamari sandwiches.


Men, girls and youngsters shall be seen garbed within the tradional Madrileno uniform of Chulapos and Chalupa stopped off with purple carnations, which haven’t modified because the late nineteenth century..

Throughout the day at on totally different phases and plazas the place the festivities are discovered, you’ll come throughout teams perfoming conventional folks dances often known as ‘El Chotis’ .

Visit San Isidro’s miracle fountain

The Pozo del Milagro – the miracle properly – might be visited within the San Isidro Museum in La Latina (Plaza de San Andrés, 2). This is the place, in response to legend, the son of Isidro the labourer was saved from drowning after falling into the properly and being introduced again to the floor by the sudden rising of the waters, a miracle conjured by the praying father.


It’s additionally the beginning of Madrid’s bullfighting season. Corridas happen every night at 7pm within the bullring at Las Ventas attracting among the greatest named matadors and drawing sell-out crowds.

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