As if being in Madrid wasn’t a good enough reason to celebrate, the city also hosts plenty of annual events connected to its cultural heritage and traditions. If you’re staying in town and want to feel like a true Madrileño, ShMadrid wants to make sure you don’t miss any of its popular festivities.
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Paying tribute to the city’s patron saint, Fiestas de San Isidro is a month-long celebration with a heavy focus on the tradition of bullfighting. Starting every year on May 15, Las Ventas, a legendary Madrid bullring, is the stage for countless bullfighting shows that sell-out well in advance. In addition to that, several cultural events happen around town during the month, including music shows, art exhibitions, and parades. A very important part of the celebration is the Romería, a pilgrimage to the saint’s meadow. Wearing traditional dresses, the locals drink from a blessed water fountain and eat typical foods such as barquillos, buñuelos and rosquillas.
August is a month with great religious significance in the city, with various districts celebrating their local holidays. Preceded by Fiestas de San Lorenzo and Fiestas de San Cayetano, La Paloma, which coincides with the national holiday of Asunción, is the culmination of these traditional tributes. All of them include processions, street dancing and music concerts, filling the city with colour and sound and spreading a joyous and festive vibe.
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Madrid Pride Week
A welcoming city to people of all sexual orientations, Madrid hosts its Gay Pride Week every year between the end of June and the start of July, attracting thousands of attendants from everywhere in the world. An event that promotes the acceptance, inclusion and equality of LGBT people, it happens in the barrio of Chueca, known for its vibrant gay nightlife. Having started somewhat discreetly in the ’80s, the Madrid Pride Week has grown to become the biggest gay event in Spain and a true worldwide celebration of sexual identity.
Nochevieja is Madrid’s new year’s eve celebration and it takes place every year in Puerta del Sol, where the clock on top of the Casa de Correos building is used for the traditional countdown. As a local custom, each person must swallow a grape for each of the twelve bell sounds that signal midnight and the beginning of the new year. Once January 1 officially arrives, the celebration spreads to the entire city and lasts all night long.
What do you think of these local customs and festivities? Which is your favourite?