7 ago 2014

15th August- Bank Holiday in Madrid: Virgen de la Paloma

Beautifully decorated streets for the 
Virgen de la Paloma festival. 
15th August is a bank holiday throughout Spain, with a special significance in Madrid.  The Virgen de La Paloma an incredibly famous festival in Madrid, and all the locals participate, so make sure you know about what’s happening so that you can make the most of the celebrations and don’t miss out!

Virgen de La Paloma: History


The painting that made the
Virgen de la Paloma so famous. 
Although 15th August is a national holiday, it has a particularly special significance in Madrid. In Madrid, 15th August is the Feast of the Virgen de La Paloma. The festival has a long history, dating back to the 18th century, when a lady called Isabel Tintero put a painting of the Virgen de La Paloma in her doorway. Everyone was amazed by the painting and would come to see it, hoping to recover from illness or seek protection. This was how the painting became so famous. 

The painting is now kept in the altar of a Church in the parish of the Virgen de La Paloma and San Pedro el Real, in the Latina district.

What’s going on in Madrid this 15th August?

The firemen always play a
special part in the 
Virgen de la Paloma festivities. 
The Madrileños always find an excuse to party, so the festivities of 15th August last for the whole weekend, starting on 14th and ending on 17th August.

The religious festivities 

During the day of 15th August there are many religious festivities: at 10am the floral offering takes place in calle Paloma, followed by a special mass in the Church at 1pm, and at 2.15pm the firemen of Madrid march down the street with the painting of the Virgen de La Paloma.

The painting is decorated especially
 for the 15th August procession.
The main procession takes place on the evening of 15th August, and you can see it from most of the streets in La Latina. The procession starts around 8pm, in calle Toledo, and finishes calle Paloma, ending up back in the Church.  The procession is accompanied by a symphony orchestra. Following the procession there will be fireworks and other celebrations. 

Music, dance and other festivities

Many Madrileños dress up in traditional period clothes called chulapo suits, and dance the chotis through the streets.  There is a competition every year for the best decorated street, façade, balcony and urban ensemble. The festivities are suitable for all ages:  every year there are traditional games, races, marching bands and people selling popular food and drink such as hot chocolate, sangria and churros.

The 15th August celebrations 
continue all through 
the night, Madrid style!
Throughout the weekend there are live music performances, allowing you to experience a true Madrid party! The live music performances take place in la Plaza de Vistillas. This year Pitingo will perform on 14th August, Rosa López on 15th, La Banda del Capitan Canalla and el DJ Sergio Blázquez on 16th, and Loquillo on 17th. There will  also be music and dancing every night in la Plaza de la Paja for those who still have energy.

August is an incredible time to be in Madrid, particularly thanks to this amazing festival. Make the most of it, enjoy the celebrations, and experience some true Spanish culture!

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