Although the majority of Spaniards continue to telework , due to the health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to look forward to long weekends and holidays with the same enthusiasm . And it is that November is loaded with these days. In fact, it begins with All Saints’ Day , on November 1, a festive day, Halloween, just like in the United States – which usually opens the month with a great bridge, if it coincides with the beginning or the end of week.
On a more specific level, residents of Madrid once again have another red day in their work calendar to add to their agenda: the Almudena Festival , which takes place on November 9 .
This year, the festivity in honor of the Virgen de la Almudena has also fallen on a Monday, which is why you can enjoy a new bridge in the capital. In reality, it is a local festival that is only celebrated in the city of Madrid, since the Almudena holds the title of being the patron saint of the people of Madrid together with San Isidro.
Other years, days before the key date, in the Plaza de la Almudena, the esplanade through which the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena is accessed , is usually filled with flowers for the solidarity offerings that are organized to render tribute, in addition to celebrating a Eucharist in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, which concludes in a procession to the cathedral once the service is over. In this edition, due to COVID-19 , it will not be held, although the mass will, respecting the capacity restrictions and social distancing in the cathedral.
Why is the Almudena the patron saint of Madrid
According to legend, in the 8th century the inhabitants of the town of Madrid, who were Christians, hid the virgin before an imminent Saracen invasion. The image was hidden in the perimeter wall to prevent it from being damaged or desecrated.
Centuries later, during the mandate of Pope Gregory VII , on November 9, 1085a procession was organized around the wall and several stones were detached from the wall, returning to see the light of the image.
However, it was not until the 17th century when the Count-Duke of Olivares promoted the construction of a temple that venerated the Virgen de la Almudena as the patron saint of Madrid, although it would be in 1646 when the Almudena became the patron saint of the town, passing to be ” protector and intercessor forever and ever ” of the capital.
Already, in 1908 , Pope Pius X declared the Virgin patron saint of Madrid by sovereign decree, setting November 9 as the Feast of the Almudena. In 1948, the Vatican authorized the canonical coronationof the Virgin and, in 1977, Paul VI declared “in perpetuity the blessed Immaculate Virgin under the title of the Almudena, main patron before God of the Archdiocese of Madrid-Alcala”.