Thursday, 12 May 2011

San Isidro

San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and the public holiday which coincides with this festival is on 15th Mat although a range of varied events take place from the Friday before 15th when the Mayor's speech begins proceedings and continue until the following Sunday when there is the cooking of an enormous Cocido Madrileño (Madrid's most traditional dish).

In the world of bullfighting San Isidro marks the start of the capital's season and is the world's largest event which attracts all the top bullfighters and bull breeders. If you're planning on a visit you should try to get tickets well in advance as every night of at the Las Ventas bullring sells out.On the day of May 15th many Madrileños dressed in traditional gear head for Plaza Mayor where there is traditional dancing and open air concerts. Casa de Campo, the large park to the south west of the centre hosts rock concerts during the fiestas and there are varied events throughout the city.

he name of the traditional Madrileño costume is a "chulapo" which comes from the word "chulo". Below are a couple of pictures of this typical dress with the men wearing a flat check cap, waistcoat and handkerchief around their necks and the women wearing elegant dresses, a head scarf and a shawl.

Around the streets of central Madrid you'll see organ grinders (barquilleros) in their San Isidro costumes selling traditional sweet snacks called "barquillos". Although San Isidro was historically a religious celebration of the generosity of San Isidro (a poor farmer) and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza, in giving food to the poor, it is now a excuse for great festivities. This turnaround has been the case in most national festivals. There are lots of "fiestas" in Spain.