Patron Saint of Madrid

Spain Regional Public Holiday in Spain.


This regional holiday is celebrated in Madrid annually on May 15.

San Isidro is the patron saint of the peasants and labourers and is also the patron saint of Madrid. Tradition has it that on May 15th the people of Madrid are to make 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.

Madrid's biggest "fiesta" is celebrated yearly starting on the Friday before the 15th and running until the following Sunday.

Many revelers still dress up in the traditional garb of the period called "Chulapo or Chulapa" which is Madrid's regional dress. "Chulapa" comes from the word "Chulo" which means "a bit full of oneself" or "very dapper" and since the Madrilenians consider themselves the most audacious, the name stuck. They pride themselves on being true Madrilenians and the men wear a checkered cap, waistcoat and handkerchief around their necks while the women's getup is composed of fancy lace ridden dresses complete with a headress and elegant wrap around shawl.

San Isidro is without a doubt Madrid's most melodious fiesta. The main stage is always in the Plaza Mayor and during every day and night of the 9 day festival, one can enjoy various concerts and traditional dancing. Most opening acts kick off with a "Hevia", a rather popular bagpipe and wind instrument player from Asturias. The another even bigger venue in the Casa de Campo which features rock concerts.

Legend has it that San Isidro was a poor peasant farmer and he and his wife Santa Maria de la Cabeza were very popular due to their generosity and always donating food to the poor.

San Isidro has been an official festival in Madrid since 1947 and while technically the festivities run from May 8th to the 15th, like good Spaniards they stretch the fun and always start earlier and end later. The festival actually begins with the Mayor's speech on the Friday afternoon prior to the 15th and ends with the ever popular Cocido Madrileno or public Cookout.

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