Madrid is celebrating her patron saint, San Isidro (Isidore the Labourer) this weekend with a packed programme of parades, concerts, bullfights and of course the main event festival event on his feast day on Monday 15th May.
This year he is also celebrating his fourth centenary since his canonization by Papal Edict in 1623.
San Isidro, who lived in Madrid in the 11th century has more miracles attributed to him than any other saint of the Catholic Church – with a particular gift it would seem of finding water ( which given the lack of rain in Madrid this year could come in handy) – which is marked by chulapos and chulapas drinking the saint’s holy water from the spring next to the Hermitage of San Isidro.
Traditional fare enjoyed on San Isidro is the limonada (a drink made with wine, lemon, sugar and chopped fruit, usually apple), and rosquillas, doughnuts that come in different shapes and sizes: listas (“smart”, or glazed), tontas (“dumb”, or plain), de Santa Clara (covered in dry meringue) or francesas (with almonds).
Madrileños will be dressed in their traditonal chulapo and chulapa enjoying open-air dances, music for all tastes and ages, and a wide variety of activities, the program of the Fiestas de San Isidro 2023 has as its main venues the Plaza Mayor, Las Vistillas, San Isidro Park, Matadero Madrid or the Retiro Park.
In the festival programme which includes a host of free events in such emblematic places such as the Plaza Mayor, Las Vistillas and Pradera de San Isidro Park where all the family can enjoy the Gigantes y Cabezudos parade, traditional chotis dancing and ad array of concerts.
Highlights from this year´s programme include:
- Concerts in Plaza Mayor and Las Vistillas Gardens (from 12th to 15th May).
- Don’t miss the Madrid Municipal Symphonic Band’s performance with Estrella Morente (Plaza Mayor, Sat 13th at 9:30pm).
- Concerts and shows for the young ones at the Pradera de San Isidro Park (from 12th to 15th May).
- A sneak peak of the musical festivals Mad Cool Festival and Primavera Sound at Matadero Madrid (from 12th to 15th May).
- El Retiro Park will host a zarzuela performance (Mon 15th at 10pm) followed by a firework display to bring the festivities to a close (Mon 15th at 11:59pm).
- Pottery festival Feria de la Cacharrería (Plaza de las Comendadoras, from 12th to 15th May).
Traditional celebrations such as the pilgrimage to the the meadow of San Isidro where funfairs and family picnics of traditional lemonade and rosquillas listas y tontas are enjoyed by Madrileños young and old.
On Monday evening of 15th May, the Patron Saint Procession from the Collegiate Church of San Isidro through Madrid´s historic quarter brings the festivities to a close.