San Isidro Labrador’s Day, on 15 May, and the days running up to it are the perfect occasion to enjoy the most authentic essence of Madrid. These festivities, dedicated to a 12th-century farmer, have become a patron saint’s festivity where all visitors and citizens are completely immersed in the essence of the Madrid of yesteryear.
During these days, locals from Madrid and tourists go on a pilgrimage to the Hermitage of San Isidro located in the meadow that bears the same name to spend the day enjoying music, dancing and typical dishes of the festivity such as ‘entresijos’ (lamb mesentery) and ‘gallinejas’ (fried lamb intestines) or ‘rosquillas’ (small ring-shaped breadsticks) with sugar. Morning and afternoon, the San Isidro Meadow fills with visitors who celebrate along with the ‘chulapos’ and ‘chulapas’ dressed in traditional costume and who go there to enjoy a day outdoors where concerts, gastronomy and the festive atmosphere flood every corner of the city.Besides the Meadow, Las Vistillas and the Plaza Mayor are other key spots during the nights of San Isidro. Music takes centre stage on these festive nights in which live, traditional and independent music concerts and ‘verbenas’—popular night festivities—impress even the most demanding. At about midnight the Retiro Park fills with light and colour with fireworks launched from the monument dedicated to Alfonso XII.