Seriously Celebrating Saint Lorenzo

saint lorenzo

So remember when I made totally irreverent fun of Saint Isidro a few months back? No? Here it is – take a little time to read it over and bask in its glory. It’s a Pass the Ham masterpiece, I must say.

So, of course, when I realized that the Fiestas de San Lorenzo were coming up, I quickly put that old snark hat back on. I suddenly realized that I’ve finally found my true calling and my blog niche – making fun of Saints!! This time, though, I was going to go full force by adding some photos of the procession to go along with my creatively sarcastic version of the Saint’s history. It was going to be pure gold, I tell ya!

First, let me give you a quick, rough version of the actual history of Saint Lorenzo, who is the patron saint of Lavapies, Madrid’s most multi-cultural neighborhood:

San Lorenzo (Lawrence of Rome) was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome serving under Sixtus II. At some point, San Lorenzo was entrusted with the Holy Chalice along with a few other valuable religious relics, which he hid for safety. When the pope died, the prefect in charge demanded that Lorenzo turn over the Chalice and any other treasures that he had previously hidden. Lorenzo, afraid that the goods would be seized and kept out of the hands of the church, refused to turn over the goods and instead, gathered the poor and the suffering and presented them as the true treasures of the church.

So, this is economic crisis gold, right? Obviously, Rajoy would have been San Lorenzo or “San Rajoyenzo” and the riches that he hides would have been the bank bailout money or money stolen by corrupt politicians or even the money squandered away at the Ministries and then, you know – obviously, the general population of Spain would represent the poor and suffering. Maybe I would have made Angela Merkel the prefect that was demanding all of the riches and that’s why San Rajoyenzo had to increase the IVA? Man, just a world of sarcastic, snarky possibilities here.

Church of San Lorenzo
Church of Saint Lorenzo

Alas, my dreams of Saint-ish snarkdom were dashed as soon I arrived at the San Lorenzo church. It was at this point when I discovered something shocking:

I actually have a conscious.

Snark was just not going to happen here among Saint Lorenzo’s loyal fans. All around me were radiant couples dressed in traditional chulapo attire and they were all just so stinkin’ cute. And we’re not talking about that typical kiddy cuteness you normally see during these types of traditional celebrations. By and large, this procession was all about the … um,  more veteran San Lorenzo followers.

And, yes, my devilish side was dying to make a crack about a Cocoon parade or something, but my snarky power was being quickly usurped by the pure joy I was witnessing as the procession passed by.

Just looking at the faces on the people taking part in the procession made me tear up more than once. Everyone seemed to be so proud to take part in the procession. And the women! They were just so damn happy and believe me -  that never happens! It’s a true rarity in Spain to see outwardly happy elderly ladies smiling and laughing. Normally, they’re busy giving me the stink eye and making that annoying tsk- tsk sound, but not today! (Maybe I haven’t told you about my fear of elderly Spanish women yet? I’ll save that for another post.)

Whatever it was that caused this pleasant anomoly, these golden-aged chulapas and chulapos were having a blast as they proudly marched behind their patron saint. It was all just so incredibly endearing.

So, what kind of person could belittle such a happy event? I just can’t do it. I can’t degrade this Saint on his special day. I mean, anything that has the power to make elderly Spanish women smile probably shouldn’t be screwed with anyway.

San Lorenzo
Not San Rajoyenzo
The procession was led by these guys and George Calin's brother?
Okay, well, maybe these guys don't look so happy, but I think they were really serious about carrying the Saint. For happiness, see below:
Just look at that face! That's one proud chulapa!
She was smiling right before I took this photo, I swear!
Happiness Alert!
This was the youngest belle of the ball.
Is this not the sweetest lady you've ever seen?
Wow! Look at that man's tiny arm!
Chulapas and Chulapo
Four Chulapas to every Chulapo!
cool guy
And the ladies didn't hog all the attention. The men, sophisticated and stoic, held their own.
cool guy
This is how you say "bad ass" in Spanish.
This one is for La Tortuga- I know how she loves those Spanish grandpas!


So, the end of the story is that San Lorenzo was martyred for his poignant, courageous act. As I’ve been reading up on Saint Lorenzo, I’ve also seen countless references to miracles related to the Saint. And after this procession, I certainly believe in miracles. After all, he made my snark disappear!

This entry was posted in EVENTS IN MADRID, LIFE IN MADRID and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Seriously Celebrating Saint Lorenzo

  1. Ahh, so cute! I love these pictures. I agree that the more “veteran”-filled parades are better anyway.

  2. Mo says:

    Only three words for this post. As we say in Glasgow, “pure, dead brilliant.”

  3. Jeremy says:

    It’s nice to see a procession without the Klansman hoods. I quite like the Chotis they dance afterwards as well.

  4. Marianne says:

    Great photos giving a real atmosphere of the event. Well done Hamantha!

  5. Pingback: Celebrating San Antonio » Pass the Ham

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