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The Spanish capital’s annual events calendar is filled with everything from traditional religious parades to cutting-edge arts festivals and one of the biggest gay pride parades in Europe.
Whether someone is visiting on a weekend break or making a permanent move to the city, knowing what’s going on in Madrid is certainly worth it.
Some of the best-known annual events in Madrid include:
Cavalcade of Magi (January)
Also called the King’s Day Parade or the Cavalcade of the Three Kings, this children’s parade occurs on the night before the Christian Feast of the Epiphany. A parade of “kings” on carriages can be seen tossing endless amounts of sweets to the children and adults following the procession. The parade takes place between El Retiro Park and Plaza Mayor. A children’s theatre programme accompanies the event.
Madrid Carnival (February)
The Madrid Carnival takes place the week before the start of Lent as a final display of excess before the traditional Catholic period of self-denial. The Madrid Carnival features parades, fancy dress and a concert in the Plaza Mayor, and is a wonderful showcase of Madrilenian culture.
An annual event since 1995, Festimad is a two-day rock music event that takes place on three stages and showcases countless local and international entertainers.
Festival de Otono de Madrid (May)
This month-long festival heralds the onset of autumn and has been in operation since 1984. Since 2010, the event has taken place at the beginning of spring instead of autumn but the name has stayed the same. Attendees can expect to be entertained by theatre, dance and music events.
Fiesta de San Isidro (May)
A week-long festival in celebration of the patron saint of labourers, this festival also ushers in the bullfighting season. The fiesta sees carnival parades, music concerts, dances and other lavish and colourful events mostly around the Plaza Mayor area.
Suma Flamenca (May/June)
The Suma Flamenca is an annual month-long festival of flamenco, the traditional Spanish dance. The summit has a busy programme that includes flamenco singing and dancing events, as well as guitar-playing at venues throughout the city.
Madrid Gay Pride (June/July)
A week-long event towards the end of June, Madrid Gay Pride attracts over a million people from across the globe every year and is, according to the organisers, the biggest gay pride parade in Europe. Attendees of all kinds enjoy dressing up and watching a variety of performances, before the big parade, which is the festival's culmination.
Los Verano de la Villa (June to September)
Translating to “summer in the city”, this enormous festival showcases theatre, music, dance, circus performances, film, poetry readings and more at venues across Madrid. The organisers make a point of catering to a range of tastes, so there should be something for every expat to enjoy.
Castizo Fiestas (August)
A number of festivities celebrating the feast days of San Cayetano, San Loreno and La Virgen de la Paloma take place in the barrios of La Latia and Lavapies. There are street processions, dancing and live music to enjoy.
Madrid Jazz Festival (November/December)
A month-long jazz festival featuring international and Spanish jazz performances, jazz-related films and more – this world-class festival is a must for jazz fans the world over.
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