San Isidro – Patron Saint of Madrid

Yesterday marked the start of San Isidro (saint Isidro) in the city of Madrid. A five day fiesta which runs from the 12th to 16th of May.

San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and the festivities are held every year around the day of Sani Isidro which is May 15th. Originally a religious festival to celebrate the generosity of San Isidro (when he was only a poor farmer) giving food to the poor these days it is more like an excuse for a huge fiesta. Typical Spain! As pointed out in previous posts the Spanish don’t need much of an excuse to party.

During the five days you can enjoy concerts of every different musical style plus theatre and dancing performed in the streets. There are numerous children’s activities, street processions with bands and lots more. The bars are busy and many open street bars to increase their capacity. San Isidro is also a big date in the bullfighting calendar.

Many people still dress up in the tradition 19th century Madrid costumes. For the men chulapos; a black and white dogtooth patterned waistcoat with red carnation (clavel ) and matching flat cap. For the ladies, chulapas; the long dresses with headscarf including the red carnation. The ladies also wear the world famous Manila shawl (Mantón de Manila). The same traditional costume is worn for La Paloma festival in mid-August.

The children also get dressed up in the same costume. This year Dani needed a new costume as he had outgrown last years. Of course it looks cute. But getting a photo? These days the best way to keep him still long enough to take a photo is to let him see himself in the mirror.

San Isidro costumeIMG_9528This year he will miss half of the festival as we will be travelling to the UK.

At last year’s La Paloma festival he was a star attraction in the centre of Madrid. Happily dancing in the street oblivious to the crowds around him. Watch the video. Many of the passing crowd actually asked permission to take his photograph.

San Isidro is probably one of the best times to visit Madrid. For more information about the San Isidro festival and other events visit the following sites:


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