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Home » Culture » Spain » Society » Spanish Holidays » San Isidro

San Isidro

Madrid Celebration

Every May 15th Madrid celebrates San Isidro, Madrid´s patron saint and the city celebrates it with concerts, traditional "verbenas", bullfight. Don't miss it!

San Isidro is the patron saint of the peasants and is also the patron saint of the capital city of Spain, Madrid. On the day of the saint, which falls on 15th May, the people of Madrid actively participate in a pilgrimage to San Isidro's meadow to celebrate his day and to drink the holy water of his fountain in his hermitage’s patio. Many people are dressed as chulapo or chulapa (Madrid's national dress), and, despite its religious origin, it is a real country fiesta: people bring with them food for a picnic, and buy barquillos (rolled wafer) and rosquillas. In the afternoon, images of the saint and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza, are paraded through the streets. The celebration of Madrid's patron saint takes several days and many cultural events are offered to the people: contests of chotis -Madrid's traditional dance-, concerts of folk music, or craftsmanship fairs.

San Isidro was born in Madrid in about 1070, although the exact date is unknown, the son of impoverished parents. For the majority of his life he worked as a laborer on a farm located just outside Madrid. There have been many miracles attributed to him, the most common one being that two angels ploughed the land for him while he was praying. With his wife he had one son, who one time supposedly fell into a well, only to be saved when his father prayed for the water to rise, bringing with it the baby.

Such is his fame and popularity in Spain that there is a museum dedicated to his life, located at the Plaza de San Andrés. Legend has it that the museum is the same building as San Isidro’s birth and death, having passed away at some point during the twelfth century, although the exact date is again unknown.