By Rose Maramba


Summer in Madrid won’t be summer without the fiesta of the Virgin of La Paloma. Madrid, seat of the court of King Philip II, King of the Inquisition Par Excellence if he must have another name, was founded on devout Catholicism and though today practically all the Madrid churches are a yawning abyss during the week and regain a vestige of religiosity only at Sunday Mass, Madrid should be 69% Catholic in keeping with Spain as a whole, as per the poll conducted by the Center of Sociological Research this year.

With those origins, it is no surprise that while it is customary for a place to have just one patron saint, Madrid has two, or even three! That is, San Isidro el Labrador, Virgen de la Almudena, officially, and the Virgen de la Paloma who the Madrileños fondly refer to as the Patron Saint of the people of Madrid  (la Virgen del pueblo de Madrid).

The feast  of the Virgen de la Paloma falls on the 15th of August, but as is typically Spanish the celebration lasts days. Thank god for this inexhaustible capacity to have fun without even trying! The focal point of the festivities is the historic barrio of La Latina, presumably Madrid’s most castizo (genuinely Madrileño) district.

For those who are new to Madrid, this is your chance to join a wildly popular fiesta and get to know the essence of this marvelous city. And for those who are now quasi-natives, we’re reminding you, in case you’ve forgotten in the siesta-inducing heat of Madrid, that the fiesta is now on. You know of course what you’ll be missing if you give it a miss.

¡A la fiesta!



Schedule of the more interesting events, in English


10:00 – Floral offering to the Virgin of La Paloma, Colegio La Salle-La Paloma, Paloma Street, next to the Church of Our Lady of La Paloma (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Paloma)

VIRGEN DE LA PALOMA FIESTA image 201413:00 – Holy Mass in the Church of Our Lady of La Paloma, Paloma Street

13:00 – Spanish Omelette contest at the Plaza de la Lavapies. Open to the public

14:00 – Verbena music on Aguila Street

14:15 – Lowering of the painting of the Virgin of La Paloma by the firemen of Madrid, at the main altar of the Church of Our Lady of La Paloma, according to tradition, in preparation for the holy procession in the evening. The firemen have the honor to carry out the task as the Virgen de la Paloma is their patron saint. The painting was discovered in 1787.

15:00 – Samba outdoor fiesta,  Águila Street

15:30 – Free paella. Just pay for your drink at Bar la Cara B, Águila Street

16:00 – Festive music at the Bar la Perla, 14 Calatrava Street

Religious procession honoring the Virgin of La Paloma

Religious procession honoring the Virgin of La Paloma

20:00 – Religious procession of the Virgen de la Paloma. The procession is unique in that instead of the image of the Virgin being carried on the shoulders of devotees, the Virgin of la Paloma is transported on a fire truck!

20:00 – Traditional Spanish music and dance, Paloma Street

20:30 – Traditional Spanish music, Plaza de las Vistillas

21:00 – Traditional music, Aguila Street

22:00 – Dance and orchestra music, Plaza de la Paja

22:00 Acoustic music provided by the Odio Sapiens, Aguila Street

22:00 – Live performance by chulapos (native Spanish in 18th century gala attire), Paloma Street

23:00 – Rock n’ Roll in verbena party, Águila Street

23:30 – Live show by the popular Spanish singer ROSA LOPEZ, Plaza de las Vistillas

Midnight – Hail to the Virgin of La Paloma, Plaza de la Paja

01:00 – Outdoor disco, Plaza de las Vistillas



20:00 – Verbena music, Águila Street

20:30 – Traditional Spanish shawl contest, Plaza de las Vistilla

20:30 – Fan contest, Plaza de la Paja. (Contestants must register no later than 30 minutes before the contest)

21:30 – Live show in a goyesco (style reminiscent of the famous Spanish painter Francisco de Goya) ambience, Plaza de las Vistillas

Goyesco personages in Franciso de Goya's paingting The Blind Hen

Goyesco personages in Francisco de Goya’s The Blind Hen

22:00 – Outdoor dance. Music provided by an orchestra. Paloma Street

22:00 – Taped Rock music with outdoor-party ambiance, Águila Street

22:30 – Spanish traditional music, Plaza de las Vistillas

23:00 – Outdoor dance, live orchestra, Plaza de la Paja

23:30 – Show by the Capitán Canalla Band, Plaza de las Vistillas

Plaza de la Paja, in the historic Barrio de la Latina

Plaza de la Paja in the historic Barrio de La Latina

01:00 – Disco at the Plaza de las Vistillas. Music provided by DJ  Sergio Blázquez



15:00 – Paella for the public. Grab a free plate. You only pay for your drink at the Bar La  Cara B, Águila Street

Olga-María Ramos at Las Vistillas

0:00 – Verbena ambience, Águila Street

20:30 – Traditional Spanish poetry contest, Plaza de la Paja

21:00 – Verbena Rock, Águila Street

22:00 – Show of famous risque Spanish pop singer OLGA MARIA RAMOS, Plaza de las Vistillas

22:00 – Classes in traditional Spanish dance, Paloma Street

23:30 – Show of famous Spansih singer LOQUILLO, Plaza de las Vistillas

Midnight – Hail to the Virgin of La Paloma, Plaza de la Paja

00:10 – Live orchestra music, Plaza de la Paja

01:00 – Disco, Plaza de las Vistillas



You might also want to see the VERBENA DE LA PALOMA, famous Spanish opera (zarzuela), at the Teatro Compac, Gran Via 66, from 20 to 24 August. Wednesday to Friday – 20:30; Saturday – 19:00 and 22:00; Sunday – 19:00


Featured image (La Paloma procession)/w.es: Usuario Barcex, CC BY-SA3.0 cropped
Virgen de la Paloma fiesta 2014 poster, Fair use

Image of the Virgen de la Paloma during the procession in her honor Barcex http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usuario:Barcex, CC-BY-SA 30
The Blind Hen, Francisco de Goya, Public Domain, uploaded by http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Escarlati
Plaza de la Paja by http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Esetena, CC-BY-SA 30
Olga-María Ramos/Diario de Madrid, CC BY4.0