This page is a guide to the major Madrid events. Descriptions of the most exciting fiestas, and links to more in-depth reviews of each event. Find out which month each fiesta falls, and what type of celebrations take place.
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There are fiestas, or quite literally 'parties' in Madrid all through the year. Most of them take place during the spring and summer, and usually involve hundreds of people dressing up and taking part in street parades or communal meals. Many popular Madrid events are fiestas that are common to the whole of Spain, but there are some that are specific to Madrid.
Madrid events take place around religious days of celebration, such as Easter, and the days of the holy virgins are also an excuse for a party. Days of historic importance are also celebrated Madrid events. Everyone is welcome. You don't have to be religious, or a native of Spain to join in.
Some Popular Madrid Events
This is one of the more sombre ceremonies. Groups of penitents will walk the streets for hours, sometimes in bare feet. They carry candles, and several people group together to bear the weight of an effigy of Christ, which they carry through the streets for hours. This is probably the most religious of the Madrid Events. It takes place at Easter, which is either March or April.
This is a celebration of the defeat of Napoleon's troupes who invaded Spain. The revolt started on 02 May 1808 in the Puerta del Sol. It resulted in the War of Independence and the eventual defeat of the French aggressors. This Madrid event marks the beginning of Spring and is celebrated with music and dancing. It's a real must-see for its vibrant atmosphere. Head for the Plaza Dos de Mayo.
Metro: San Bernardo (Brown Line, L4)
San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid. He was originally a lowly farm worker, and is now much revered. During this fiesta you will see locals dressed in authentic costume, and many of them make pilgrimages (romerías) to go and worship their saint. The San Isidro fiesta is celebrated on 15 May.
Throughout August the locals go to town decorating the streets, marching in parades and worshipping the saints and virgins: San Cayetano, San Lorenzo and La Paloma. There's dancing of the traditional 'chotis', open air food stalls and games in the street. Locals also compete for a part in the local operetta. Prizes are given for the best street decoration, so it's worth having a walk round the city centre to see some of the displays. Head for the area of Lavapies.
Metro: Lavapies (Yellow Line, L3)
This fiesta is usually associated with people leaping over bonfires on the beach. In Madrid it is celebrated in the Retiro area. Metro: Retiro (Red Line, L2)
It takes place on the shortest night of the year in June, and the main feature are the many bonfires that are a focal point for much singing and dancing.
Different barrios (areas) of Madrid celebrate this fiesta on different days throughout July. This Madrid event involves both dancing, drinking, religion and sporting events. There's something for everyone to see.
In November, you'll find the Madrileños (people from Madrid) celebrating All Saints day along with the rest of Spain. This is not so much of a street celebration. People travel en mass to cemeteries to remember their loved ones. In Madrid, you will be able to see some theatre performances of Don Juan Tenorio, by José Zorrilla, that are arranged specially for the day.
There is always a Madrid event, every month of the year. List of Madrid holidays.
The fiestas are one of the most exciting forms of entertainment that Spain has to offer, and it is worth trying to see something of them during your stay. There are many varied fiestas, and it's worth bearing in mind that usually many amenities will close during the celebrations. Information about what is open during the fiestas