Madrid festivals occur fairly regularly. It is a city which loves any reason to enjoy itself, with festivals centered around Madrid's religious and historical traditions. The majority of these festivals take place in the spring, summer, and fall.
Visitors to Madrid should keep in mind that some other tourist attractions may be closed during larger celebrations such as feasts.
Holy Week and Easter are celebrated in Madrid, but to a lesser extent than in other Spanish cities. Carnival is also featured on the calendar, but it is also not taken as seriously as it is in some of the other European cities.
The month of May is an important one for Madrid festivals. May begins with two holidays on the first and second of the month. The first holiday is a national Labor Day, and May 2nd celebrates the city's independence.
Just two weeks later is San Isidro, a feast dedicated to the male patron saint of Madrid. In addition to the feast, the holiday is celebrated with pilgrimages and street fairs. Some of the most important bullfights in Spain begin during San Isidro and last until the end of the month.
August is the next busy month during Madrid's festival calendar. The three festivals of San Cayetano, San Lorenzo, and La Paloma are celebrated in rapid succession toward the beginning of the month. Each consist of street fairs and religious ceremonies in various neighborhoods to celebrate local patron saints.
San Cayetano is celebrated on August 7, and is dedicated to the area's patron saint, while San Lorenzo takes place on August 10 in honor of a martyr from the third century. La Paloma occurs on August 15, and is the most popular celebration of the three. A statue of the Virgin Mary is paraded down the streets, and celebrations are held throughout Madrid. In other parts of Spain, La Paloma is called the Feast of the Assumption. It is a national holiday.
October 12 is National Day, and is a national holiday in the country. It is also when Our Lady of Pillar, the female patron saint of Spain, is celebrated. All Saints' Day is celebrated on November 1, and is a national holiday for remembering loved ones who have passed away.
Fiesta de la Almudena is celebrated on November 9. The festival, dedicated to Madrid's female patron saint, the Virgin of the Almudena, includes street processions in various locations around Madrid. The Plaza de la Almudena becomes alive with the colors and smells of fresh flowers honoring the Virgin on this holiday.