The Festival of San Isidro

by Aleksandra Budd, Madrid, Spain

The Festival of San Isidro is a week-long celebration in Madrid honouring the city’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador. The festival occurs between the 6th -15th (the 15th being the official feast day) and includes numerous and varied events and activities such as: concerts, music, procession and parades.

You’ll see people dancing chotis (a traditional folk dance), wearing traditional clothing, having picnics, and drinking from the spring next to the Ermita de San Isidro. Most people end the 15th by having a picnic in San Isidro Park.

Traditional food to try over the San Isidro festivities are: limonada; a drink made from wine, lemon, sugar and chopped fruit, usually apple, and rosquillas; doughnuts that are either: glazed (listas), plain (tontas), covered in meringue (de Santa Clara), or with almonds (francesas).

Religious processions makes their way through the streets of Madrid, passing by historic landmarks, plazas, and churches. Vibrant floats, crowds, and rituals all bring everyone together to celebrate tradition, religion and spirituality.

The festival features concerts of traditional Spanish music, including zarzuela and flamenco. We we’re lucky to have one of the main stages at the bottom of our road! We listened to live performances through our windows, and in the evenings we’d go down and join in the celebrations at Jardín de las Vistillas.

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