Local traditions and culture in Madrid

  • baby baguettes with the standard olives
    baby baguettes with the standard olives
    by edwis
  • medio racione:   Huevos Rotos
    medio racione: Huevos Rotos
    by edwis
  • special plato combinado w/ pescado
    special plato combinado w/ pescado
    by edwis

Most Viewed Local Customs in Madrid

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    Feria del Libro de Madrid (Madrid Book Fair)

    by Redang Updated May 29, 2013

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    It takes place every Spring (from late May to early June) in the Retiro Park. You can buy the new released books, best sellers, technical books, official publications... Every day, famous writers go to sign their books for the readers. You also get a 10% discount.

    This year, from 31 of May to 16 of June 2.013, and the first edition took place in 1.933.

    Opening hours:
    - Monday to Friday: From 11,00 to 14,00 and 18,00 to 21,30 (11,00 am to 02,00 pm and 6,00 pm to 09,30 pm).
    - Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays: From 11,00 to 15,00 and 17,00 to 21,30 (11,00 am to 03,00 pm and 05,00 pm to 09,30 pm).

    How to get there:
    - Metro: Retiro (line 2), Príncipe de Vergara (lines 2 and 9) and Ibiza (line 9).
    - Bus: 2, 9, 26, 28, 61, 63, 146 and C1 (Circular 1).

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    Domingo de Pascua (Easter Sunday)

    by Redang Updated Mar 20, 2013

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    At noon on Easter Sunday, there is a Tamborrada (Drum parade) in the centre of Madrid: Plaza Mayor and surrounding area.

    Since 2.005, it's organized by the Cofradía de la Entrada de Jesús en Jerusalén, from Zaragoza. It's composed by more than 110 members using their "timbales, bombos, tambores and carracas" (percussion instruments).

    Regarding the website, look for Semana Santa (Spanish version) or Easter (English version).

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    Semana Santa (Holy Week)

    by Redang Updated Mar 20, 2013

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    This is another big tradition throughout Spain. Some events take place during the week such as concerts, but the most traditional are the processions. The most famous are in Andalucía, but the ones in Madrid are becoming very important.

    If you want to know more:
    - es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semana_Santa (Spanish)
    - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semana_Santa (English)

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    Madrileños = Gatos

    by Redang Written Feb 1, 2013

    Did you know that people from Madrid are called Madrileños? Yes, maybe you knew it, but, do you know that we are also called Gatos (Cats)? Now, you wonder why…….

    In 1085, when King Alfonso VI conquered Madrid (called, at that time, Magerit), occupied by the Moors, a soldier scaled the walls of the castle with the agility of a “gato” (cat), hence, the name Gatos (for the inhabitants).

    There is also a theory and it is the fact that we Madrileños love nightlife and wonder about at night, so do the Gatos (cats).

    I must say that I’ve heard about the first explanation for ages, and I do prefer it.

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    Navidad: Más fotos (Christmas: More pics)

    by Redang Updated Dec 10, 2012

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    Pics:
    - Main: Puerta del Sol: Where Madrileños (people from Madrid) go to welcome the New Year and eat the 12 grpaes (very famous and popular tradition in Spain). Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3).
    - Second: Parque de El Retiro (Retiro Park). This part, metro: Retiro (line 2).
    - Third: Puerta de Alcalá (Alcalá Gate). Where? Plaza de la Independencia: Metro: Banco de España (line 2 and Retiro, line 2).
    - Puerta del Sol. Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3).

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    Las Doce Uvas (The Twelve Grapes)

    by Redang Updated Dec 10, 2012

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    There is a tradition in Spain: The Twelve Grapes.

    Every 31 of December, the Madrileños (people from Madrid) go to Puerta del Sol to welcome the new year. And the tradition (just in Spain), is to have twelve grapes. Why this tradition and when did it begin?

    It began in 1.909, and the reason was that that year there was a great excess of grapes in the country, and they decided to have a grape with each bell strike. Then, you will lucky over the new year. They are also called "The Grapes of Luck".

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Grapes (English)

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    Navidad: Calles (Christmas: Streets)

    by Redang Updated Dec 10, 2012

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    Pics:
    - Main: El Oso y el Madroño. This is the symbol of Madrid. Puerta del Sol (metro: Sol, lines 1, 2 and 3).
    - Second: Calle de Preciados (metro: Sol, lines 1, 2 and 3) or Callao (metro: Callao, lines 1 and 3).
    - Third: Calle de Alcalá. This street is very long, and the pic shows the part from Plaza de Cibeles (metro: Banco de España, line 2) to Puerta de Alcalá/Plaza de la Independencia (metro: Retiro, line 2).
    - Fourth: Gran Vía. You can visit this street in some different places. The most popular part is the one shown in the pic, from Plaza del Callao (metro: Callao, lines 1 and 3).
    - Fifth: Paseo de Recoletos. The pic was taken from Plaza de Cibeles (metro: Banco de España, line 2).

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    Ir de tapeo, ir de tapas, tapear...

    by Redang Updated Feb 16, 2012

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    All the expressions have the same meaning: To have Tapas. Yes, something so typical in Madrid (or in Spain in general).

    I can't say a place or area, anywhere in Madrid have many bars where you can enjoy them. Apart from the touristy districts: Plaza Mayor and surrounding area, La Latina, Puerta del Sol, Huertas street, Plaza de Santa Ana..., the other ones, less, let's say, "famous", have excellent bars too. And not to mention that a "caña" (let's say half of lager, so, beer) or glass of wine (unless you don't drink alcohol, although there are beers without it), are a part of the traditional tapas.

    The link shows a list of bars that offer good tapas.

    For some recipes, go to Restaurants Tips section.

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    La Noche en Blanco (The Sleepless Night)

    by Redang Updated May 21, 2011

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    For the 5th time in a row, Madrid celebrates La Noche en Blanco (The Sleepless Night). It consists in more than 150 different events that take place during the night, beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday 10, till 7 a.m. Sunday 11 September 2.011. Some museums are open all night long.

    Some other cities celebrate the same event such as:
    - Amsterdam (Holland): www.nuitblancheamsterdam.nl
    - Brussels (Belgium): 2 October 2010 (www.nuitblanchebrussels.be/?lang=fr)
    - Bucharest (Romania): I don't have information yet
    - Paris (France): www.paris.fr/portail/Culture/Portal.lut?page_id=6806
    - Riga (Latvia): 1 September (www.baltanakts.lv/2010/)
    - Valetta (Malta): 25 September 2010 (www.nottebiancamalta.com/)

    For info in some other languages, visit:
    - www.esmadrid.com
    - www.nochesblancaseuropa.eu

    - E mail: infolanocheenblanco@munimadrid.es

    Note: I apologize if I can't find the dates for the other cities.

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    Cambio de la Guardia (Changing of the Guard)

    by Redang Updated May 15, 2010

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    La Guardia Real (the Royal Guard), is the personal guard of the King of Spain and his familiy. This is a new event, don't thing that it has been taking place for decades; maybe in the future, it will become an old tradition.

    It takes place every Wednesday from 11,00 to 14,00 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), every 30 minutes except when official events are sheduled or bad weather.

    Where: At the Puerta del Príncipe (Prince's Gate) which is otuside the Palace (Plaza de Oriente).

    And every first Wednesday of the month, there is solemn Changing of the Guard (about 40 minutes) at 12,00 (noon) except August and September, official events are scheduled or bad weather.

    Where: Plaza de la Armería (Armery Square).

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    Festival de Otoño (Autumn Festival)

    by Redang Updated Apr 22, 2010

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    It consists in many cultural shows such as music, ballet, theatre, circus...

    This year, 2010, the Festival has been moved to Spring, so, the name is Festival de Otoño en Primavera (Autumn Festival in Spring), and it will take place from 12 May to 6 June.

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    Fiestas de San Isidro (San Isidro Feasts)

    by Redang Updated Mar 8, 2010

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    San Isidro is the Patron of Madrid and we celebrate the festivity on 15 May. It takes place in the Pradera de San Isidro. However, the attarctions take place during one week.

    Address of the Ermita de San Isidro:
    Paseo Quince de Mayo, 62
    - Tel.: (+34) 91 569 18 36
    - Web: www.archimadrid.es/sanisidro (Spanish)

    How to get there:
    - Metro: Marqués de Vadillo (line 5).
    - Bus: 25 and 50.

    Pics:
    - "La Pradera de San Isidro", painted by Francisco de Goya, one of the most important painters of Spain (main).
    - Statue of Goya (2nd).
    - Ermita de San Isidro (3rd).
    - Some attractions (4th and 5th).

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    Sorteo de Navidad - El Gordo

    by suvanki Updated Jul 16, 2009

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    I was quite surprised to see such long queues outside this shop in Sol.
    Closer inspection revealed that it was a queue for lottery or lotto tickets!

    During my trips to different Spanish cities, I'd seen lotto kiosks, and men selling tickets out on the streets, but not witnessed queues quite like this!

    I later realised that they were probably hoping to buy the winning ticket for the Sorteo de Navidad, Gordo De Navidad or the name I was more familiar with - El Gordo, or the Fat One.

    This tradition has been going on since 1812, where Spaniards, including those who don't normally gamble, buy a ticket or a few! Apparently the place to buy a ticket is Dona Manolita on Grand Via Colon, which has been open since 1931, and locals expect to win at least something in this Lucky Town.

    The lotto is also played by many foreigners, but there have been quite a few scams- Where gullible people have parted with money on the promise of receiving a fortune.

    The draw is made on National TV at 1100hrs in Madrid. This is considered the start of Christmas!
    In 2007 it was on 22nd December.

    please click here for info

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Budget Travel
    • Casino and Gambling

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    Feria del Libro Antiguo y de Ocasión

    by Redang Updated Apr 24, 2009

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    The Old Book Fair takes place every spring on Paseo de Recoletos, and you can buy old books maybe you could never imagine to find.

    Dates: This year, 2.009, from 24 of April to 10 of May, and from 11,00 to 21,00 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.).

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    Balloon Sellers/modellers

    by suvanki Updated Jan 24, 2009

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    Saturday afternoon, leaving Meson 5j's, after my tapas of jamon iberico and a beer, I stepped onto C/Arenal, and came face to face with Homer Simpson!

    A few steps further and I saw a pink elephant approaching - I was wondering how strong my cerveza had been!!

    Later on along the street, I came across this clown - these characters were all carrying balloons, which they modelled into different shapes, and thrust them at any approaching babies, toddlers and children - not sure if there was a fixed price for these.

    - I didn't actually see any mothers buying the balloons, but did spot some toddlers in buggies, clutching these brightly coloured rubber models.

    In Sol, I came across Mickey Mouse - also trying to pursuade the mums to buy one of his models for their young ones.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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