August 16th, 2009


Dancing in the streets

A few member of the Madrid Writer's Critique Group (those of us who are not away on vacation) met Saturday night to attend the Fiestas de la Virgen de La Paloma.

This Virgin, the most popular one in Madrid, might be a portrait of a nun (a fairly homely portrait to be honest), though it's dressed up nicely in a gilt frame. It was rescued from the some children playing with it in the street in 1787 by a housewife and who displayed it in the entrance to her home. Then several miracles occurred, it got a chapel and later a church, and it became the patroness of the Madrid firefighters.

Each year, the firefighters help take it from the altar so it can be carried in a procession through the streets. The Critique Group viewed the procession from a member's balcony. It included dozens of people dressed in traditional Madrid fiesta outfits. Here are two shots from my mobile phone.


After the procession we went out to enjoy the live bands, food, carnival games, and decorations. Taverns had set up sidewalk bars and loudspeakers with deejays, and some side streets were so crowded with dancers that the best way to get down them was to join the dancing.

The fireworks at 12:30 a.m. did not signal the end of the fiesta, but by then we were ready to head for the subway and home.

— Sue Burke