Thursday, May 5, 2011

Madrid goes crazy for San Isidro celebrations!

The San Isidro Festival (the patron saint of Madrid) is a time when the madrileños come together to celebrate their city. The festivities take place over a number of days; this year it will be from 11th-15th May, with 14th being San Isidro Day itself. If you're going to be in the city, there will definately be a carnival buzz in the air. The city hall has plenty of events organised with everything from concerts, dancing and parades. On the nights of the 13th, 14th and 15th May, the newly remodelled river zone will host a very spectacular river of fire. Concerts wil be taking place at the university campus and the Vistillas Gardens and on the streets of Lavapiés, there will be street theatre. Also the Sabatini Gardens next to the royal palace will host a mass open air dance event with plenty of classics from Hollywood movies from over the last decades to dance along to. You can see the whole programme of events here.

The festival has been celebrated for many years. Madrileños traditionally used to flock to the Pradera de San Isidro, open fields next to the river near the Toledo bridge (although it has long been concreated over). However one tradition which still stands is the Pasacalles parade, where giant figures are marched through the streets of central Madrid. You can catch it on the 11th at 5.30pm and it will go through Sol, along Calle Alcalá and on to Plaza Cibeles. If you head to some of the more traditional neighbourhoods such as La Latina or the area around Plaza Mayor, you'll find plenty of people dressed up in traditional Madrid costume, and many of the streets and shops will be decorated. Not to be missed!

Madrid decorated for San Isidro

Traditional Madrid costume

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