May 15 – San Isidro Day in Madrid

Posted May 15, 2015

Madrid, Spain, has a “patron saint” who was supposed to create a spring of water by banging the ground. A spring is a place where underground water wells up to the surface – or where the water table is higher than the surface of the ground.

Springs can be very important sources of fresh water! Some springs are the source of rivers. I guess it is natural to come up with a story about how springs are created.

San Isidro is that saint, and today is his feast day. He is also the patron saint of farmers and farm animals. 

Picnics in the meadow by the spring have
been going on for many years!
Here, captured by the painter Goya.
Some Spaniards attend masses, and others picnic by a hermitage built by the spring associated with Isidro - and of course they drink the spring water. There are also processions and fairs and concerts and performances and fireworks and special ring-shaped pastries.

I hate to mention it, but there are also bullfights on San Isidro Day. These seem to me to be a cruel bloodsport that should be banned, but some Spaniards see bullfighting as a valuable part of their heritage and even their birthright.

I was in Madrid last summer, and it's a fascinating city worthy of a look...or even a nice, long gaze.

Did you know...?
  • Madrid is the highest capital city in Europe. It is 646 meters (more than 2,000 feet) above sea level.
  • One of the grandest palaces I've ever seen is Madrid's Palacio Real.
  • Madrid enjoys more cloudless days than almost any other city in Europe (averaging 250 cloudless days out of 365).
  • Madrid has a wonderful park called Retiro Park.
  • Spain helped save some Ancient Egyptian temples from rising waters, and so Egypt "gave" Spain one of the temples to be rebuilt in Madrid and enjoyed by all. Gorgeous, huh?
  • Madrid boasts the Warner Brothers Movie World with five themed parts: Old West Territory, Hollywood, DC Super Heroes, Cartoon Villiage, and Warner Bros. Studios.

  • Madrid also has a water park that sounds pretty cool!

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