San Isidro y 100 anos de Gran Via

San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and the public holiday, which coincides with this festival, was on 15th of May. The festivities started the week before and ended on Sunday, 16th of May with the cooking of an enormous Cocido Madrileño (Madrid’s most traditional dish). Additionally, San Isidro marks the start of the bullfighting season in Madrid.

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.

A interesting anecdote regarding Madrid’s traditional dress; In Spanish if someone is described as “chulo” it’s quite a derogatory term meaning that they’re full of themselves. Madrileños are often described as “chulo” by people from other parts of Spain. The name of the traditional Madrileño costume is a “chulapo” which comes from the word “chulo”. Unfortunately, I did not capture 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, although you can see some in the attached video.

This year, San Isdro coincided with the 100 year anniversary of Gran Via, a large theatre and shopping district that connects Plaza de Espana with Calle de Alcalá.  The street is always busy, any time of day or night. In honor of the 100 year celebration they closed the street down, put down blue carpet and turned the entire district into one big party.  I have been in New York’s Time Square and I believe there where as many people or more on Gran Via the 15th.

The videos shows a concert taking place at Plaza de Espana and the official birthday cake and Broadway show excerpts that honored the theaters on Gran Via. All is was caped off by fireworks at midnight, when most Madrileños just begin to come out to party.

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Published in: on May 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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