The 15th of May signifies a time when Madrid honors its patron saint, San Isidro. This is a time when the welcomeness and hospitality of the city can be felt in abundance. Many people from all over the country, and even other parts of the world, may choose to visit Madrid during this weekend. It is to no surprise that locals often choose to travel, as well. This holiday is treated as a vacation, a three-day weekend. Choosing to get a start on Spring cleaning is also a popular option during this time. San Isidro was known as a gentle saint, showing kindness towards the poor and animals. He was a humble man, therefore bringing forward the humble qualities in those who celebrate on his feast day.
Anyone can choose to celebrate. The festivities start with a commencement speech that can be heard in the Plaza de la Villa. City officials and even an invited celebrity are known for being in attendance. During the long weekend, there are many free concerts scattered throughout the city. They are open-air and great for the entire family to be able to enjoy together. Although, the celebrations begin a few days before, the 15th is the most important day. This day is usually spent by having a picnic in the Pradera. It is said that this tradition was born sometime around the 1600s. You have the option to either bring your own food or sample what is brought in by vendors.
It is also common to participate in day-drinking throughout the 15th. There is wine and beer readily available from stands that line the streets. Once you are full, you can make your way over to the carnival. There are countless games and fun activities to participate in. If you want to check out some local parties, head to Las Vistillas. There will be “verbenas” that consist of food, drinks, and music. This is one of the most notorious celebrations for the locals. By night, you can enjoy a fireworks show.
This holiday coincides with the start of bullfighting season. During the afternoons, you can head to local venues to see the action in person. For something a bit more mild, watch the parade of big-heads and giants. It appears just how it sounds, depicting leaders from all continents as giant replicas that are paraded around the city. There is no shortage of fun when it comes to this weekend, so explore as much of it as you can!
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