May 15, 2009

A view from La Pradera de San Isidro

May 15th is the Feast Day of San Isidro and a popular public holiday in Madrid. San Isidro, the Patron Saint of Madrid, was a poor farmer who performed such miracles as making a spring gush by banging on the ground while he was ploughing sometime in the 1100s. Madrileños celebrate their Patron Saint by dressing in traditional costumes called "castizo" and dancing the "chotis". The men (chulapos) wear flat check caps, waistcoats and handkerchieves around their necks while the women (chulapas) wear elegant dresses, red flowers atop their heads, head scarves and shawls. 

These photos were taken by me at a family-oriented fiesta in La Pradera de San Isidro (the San Isidro Meadow) where a hermitage was built on the site of the saint's gushing spring miracle. Legend has it that this hermitage's water fountain streams holy water with healing properties - it brought Prince Philip back to health in 1528!

This long weekend is full of celebratory activities: concerts, fireworks, theatre, zarzuela, street comedy, ballroom dancing under the stars, a Cocido Madrileno (a hearty chickpea and meat stew) cook off, and it also kicks off  the bullfighting season. I'm going to my first bullfight on Saturday to experience the blood lust for myself... the ritual slaughter of animals makes me a little queasy but I feel it's an important cultural spectacle to experience once while in Spain. So I'll let you know how it goes in Sunday's post.

Feliz dia de San Isidro!


Anonymous said...

Hi Shehani!
Congrats on this lovely blog.
I hope you try some of the cocido at the Pradera and then you'll realise it's not made with beans, but with chickpeas, chorizo, tocino (bacon), and jamón serrano(cured ham). I also hope you do not like the bullfight on Sunday! Sorry, but it's a part of Spanish culture that I and many other spaniards like me deeply dislike, since it's terribly cruel to the poor bulls and horses involved in the fight.
Apart from that all the other information is spot on and I'm glad you write about it this way so that other people can know about it.
Feliz San Isidro a ti también!

Anonymous said...

brave people, well I just can't dress up like that, although I quite like the flat cap...and the waistcoat.

Shehani said...

Yolanda, you're right, it's chickpeas and not beans. I'll make the correction ahora! thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

Brave fellows indeed, Sirio.. you'd look real smart in one of those caps!

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