During August, one of the most genuine and popular festivities is held in Madrid: the festivities of La Paloma. It is the most important summer celebration for Madrilians, who these days go out into the streets of La Latina neighbourhood to enjoy this festivity.
The central day of this celebration is the 15th of August, although on the previous days several activities are organised, like tapas routes around the restaurants of the area, contests, markets, concerts, open-air dances, shows, etc.
This celebration was born in honour to the Virgin of La Paloma, considered the patron saint of Madrid by the neighbours, although it is not officially. The legend of this virgin dates back to the XVIIIth century, when a neighbour of La Paloma street, Isabel Tintero, found a painting with the portrait of the virgin.
She hung the painting on her house’s facade so that everybody could contemplate it. With time, all the neighbours of the locality, who considered the virgin miraculous, showed a profound devotion towards her, until her fame grew and a temple was built in her honour, where today we can find her portrait.
The procession of the Virgin of La Paloma is celebrated on the 15th of August. She is the saint patron of the firefighters, who are responsible of taking down the painting to put it on the carriage decorated with carnations which goes through different streets during the procession.
During the festivity days different streets of the district of the centre of Madrid, like Las Vistillas Park, the Paja square, the Paloma street, the Toledo street and other neighbouring areas are dressed for the party. The facades and streets are decorated with colourful lanterns. Besides, the Madrilians put on their regional ‘chulapos’ and ‘chulapas’ dresses and dance the ‘chotis’ till late at night.
It is one of the most renowned events of the summer and a must know experience if you are on tour around Madrid these days.
If you want to enjoy the festivities of La Paloma, we recommend you stay in some of the Petit Palace Hotels in Madrid.