If you’re heading to Madrid this August, there are three fiestas you simply can’t afford to miss. San Lorenzo, San Cayetano and La Paloma take place in August of every year and are the three most traditional fiestas on the capital’s calendar. You can expect to see Madrilenos dressed in traditional ‘Chulapo’ suits dancing in the streets, with decorations and live music around every corner!
Getting to Madrid from the UK is easy – it makes sense to take advantage of parking at Gatwick airport, whether you’re heading for a long weekend or a couple of weeks in the sun, as prices are very reasonable. If driving through London doesn't sound like your idea of a relaxing start to your holiday, then Easy Bus is another option which is popular with Londoners and travelers from across the globe, providing low cost transfers from the city center to all of London’s major airports. Prices start from just £22 and tickets can be booked online.
What to Expect
Whilst visiting the more traditional areas of the city such as Las Vistillas, you’ll notice houses and local businesses adorned with decorations to celebrate the festivities; the old custom of decorating the area is still in full swing, with local traders and residents getting involved. The Municipal Committee awards a prize to the most attractive facade, so everyone likes to take part and get into the spirit of the celebrations!
Throughout the day, the streets of Madrid are filled with colorful parades, and at night, open-air festivities take place. You can expect to enjoy ‘rana’ (a coin throwing game), food and drink stalls offering sangria, lemonade and hot chocolate as well as churros, organ music and dancing, street fairs and other local traditions throughout the day.
One of the major events during the festivities is the election of the child chulapa or chulapo (girl or boy) – these are children dressed in traditional attire. Religious ceremonies are also a huge part of proceedings, with the San Cayetano festival finishing on August 7th with the procession of the saint. The San Lorenzo festival takes place from 10th August, with a procession that includes an image of this 3rd century martyr carried on a float through the streets.
These three festivals represent the vibrant culture of Madrid, with locals and visitors all taking part, including those new to the neighborhoods. You’ll find people of all ethnicities and cultures enjoying the festivities together, with posters advertising the festivals created in languages including Chinese and Arabic, encouraging the Oriental and North African communities that live in the city to come along and be involved in the traditional celebrations.
These festivals will delight children and adults of all ages – there’s plenty to see and do as well as delicious local food to sample, and of course if you’re tired out after all the festivities, you could always carry on the local tradition and enjoy a leisurely siesta at your hotel in the city center!