What to do in Madrid during the San Isidro festivities 2023

The most traditional party in Madridtogether with those of La Paloma, are the festivities of San Isidro, the patron saint of the city. In my first year living here in Madrid I couldn't resist going to the meadow to see chulapos and chulapas and eat some donuts, and in recent years I have resumed the habit. Whether you're a prairie fan or not, take a look at everything there is to to do in Madrid during the San Isidro festivities in 2023 and you will see that you find something that motivates you.

Madrid Chotis Chulapo Manola
Chulapos and Manolas, the San Isidro festivities arrive

Put your carnation on the lapel under the handkerchief and dance chotis, the San Isidro festivities in Madrid they are waiting for you.


Program of the festivities of San Isidro 2023 in Madrid: dates and places

This 2023, the festivities of San Isidro They are celebrated from May 5, although "the fat" starts on May 10, until May 15, the day of the saint. There are activities throughout the city, but mainly in the center, Las Vistillas and, of course, the San Isidro meadow. We will talk about some of the activities, the ones that we found most interesting, you can see the complete program of the festivities of San Isidro 2023 in the Web of the parties You have many to choose from!

Madrid San Isidro Manton Manila
The classic Manila shawl, an essential at the San Isidro festivities

Did you know…?

This 2023 is very special for San Isidro. Well, from May 15, 2022 to May 15, 2023. Why? because it is celebrated Holy Year of San Isidroon the occasion of the IV Centenary of the canonization of the patron saint of the city.

The poster for the 2023 San Isidro festivities

The posters of the festivities of San Isidro They are already becoming one more element of the party and for years almost a collector's item. It began in 2018, with the illustrations by Mercedes deBellard, who wanted to represent a "feminist San Isidro free of animal abuse", in this article from El Confidencial there is more information. Those of the 2023 festivals are the work of Ignatio Goitia and it is curious, with his classic characters from the festivals in the prairie... with smartphone and sunglasses.

Madrid San Isidro Capitol
The poster of the festival of San Isidro 2023 in the Capitol cinema

The proclamation and the parade of giants and big heads

Every self-respecting party begins with a proclamation and that of the San Isidro festivities usually takes place in the town square. This year it will also be there, on May 10 at 6:00 p.m., and the town crier will be Ramoncin.

Madrid San Isidro Giants
The giants in the meadow of the saint in the festivities of San Isidro

This 2023 the parade of giants and big heads It will begin in front of the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Madrid, in the Latin and it will be the same day and at the same time as the proclamation: the May 10 at 6:00 p.m. The chulapos Julián and Maripepa, La Latina, The Mayor of Móstoles, Manolita Malasaña and La Arganzuela will pass, among other places, through Toledo street, where the San Isidro collegiate church and the Plaza Mayor are located, until they reach the Plaza de la Villa.

The San Isidro procession and religious celebration

Although there are all kinds of more or less profane celebrations, the origin of the festivities of San Isidro is, of course, religious: it is about venerating the patron saint of Madrid. In the page of the town hall dedicated to the festivities is the detail of all the religious acts of the parties

Did you know…?

According to tradition, the saint had the gift of easily finding water, which is why the festivities revolve around the relationship between water and San Isidro. To learn more about it, you can visit the San Isidro museum.

From 10 to 14 years old in the Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidro a quinary will be held in honor of the saint. The blessing of the water of the fountain of San Isidro It will take place on Saturday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m. From that day until May 14, the fountain will have special hours: from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. On the 15th it will have even longer hours: from 8 am to 10 pm. On the day of the saint it is customary for the chulapas and the chulapos to drink the "saint's water" that flows from a spring near the Hermitage of San Isidro.

La Latina neighborhood Toledo street Plaza Mayor
The Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidro from the Plaza Mayor

The last one is the procession with the images of San Isidro and Santa María de la Cabeza the day of San Isidro, May 15, from 7 pm in the Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidro.

Festivities of San Isidro Madrid Procession
San Isidro in his procession through Calle Mayor

The pilgrimage of San Isidro in Las Vistillas on May 15

The festivities of San Isidro are, above all, synonymous with pilgrimage in the prairie of the sainthe San Isidro Park, on May 15. A party that lasts all day, weather permitting.

Madrid San Isidro Hermitage People
The hermitage of San Isidro

Traditional music –and less traditional–, meal and of course coolwith their Manila shawls, carnation scarves and polka dot dresses, and chulapos, with their vests, their carnations on the lapel, their black pants and their parpusas –the caps with small black and white squares and visors–. Actually, there are almost only adults and children dressed as chulapos, a tradition that has been lost a lot, it would be great if it was resumed!

There are parades, performances, contest of schottische –the very leisurely traditional Madrid dance in which the chulapa revolves around the chulapo, which in turn rotates on its own axis and always looking straight ahead–, distribution of Madrid stew and carnations and, at midnight, Fireworks. Well, we think there will be in the prairie, there are in two places and we don't know where yet...

Madrid San Isidro Chotis
You can not miss the chotis in the festivities of San Isidro

Saint's donuts and lemonade

something there What to do in Madrid in San Isidro is eat donuts. You will find them in all the bakeries in the city and, of course, in the meadow on the day of San Isidro. You can choose between the "silly" ones, with egg; the “listas”, also with egg but covered in icing sugar; those “from Santa Clara”, covered with a layer of meringue; and the "French" ones, with chopped almonds. Our favourites? The French.

Madrid San Isidro Donuts Santa Clara
The Santa Clara donuts, typical in the San Isidro festivities in Madrid

What we don't like very much is the lemonade, because the one in Madrid, in addition to lemon and sugar, has... wine! And sliced ​​fruit, by the way, usually apple.

Zarzuela, chotis and Madrid dances

In San Isidro you cannot miss the Operetta. Besides the zarzuela anthology on May 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the prairie, there will be monumental zarzuela in front of the monument of Alfonso XII in the Retiro on May 15 at 10 p.m.

There will also be occasions to see dancing –or to dance, if you feel like it– schottische. In the meadow there is a contest on May 15 at 8:30 p.m. but there is always also in Las Vistillas.

What to see in Madrid de los Austrias Plaza Mayor
Main Square

The thing does not end there, there will also be Madrid dances on May 15 in the Plaza Mayor at 12 noon. The Bolera or Goyesca School and Castilian music and dance await you.

Concerts in Madrid in San Isidro 2023

From May 5 to 15, there are almost 70 artists performing in different concerts in Madrid on the occasion of the festivities of San Isidro. Which ones to go to? Well, there is something for all tastes: from the electronic music of DJ Nano to an eighties party of the 40 Principales, passing through the Carmona, Marta Sánchez, the
Municipal Symphonic Band with Estrella Morente or indie groups. Up to you.

Other events in the festivities of San Isidro 2023 in Madrid

In addition to music and folklore or religious events, there are all kinds of activities at the San Isidro festivities, from the china shop fair up to one dog show. We remind you that you can see the complete program of the festivities of San Isidro 2023 in the Web of the parties

Happy San Isidro Day to cats and visitors!

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