I really dislike Madrid’s Cathedral, the Almudena.
Actually, I’ve only been inside the cathedral once or twice, but the Neo-Gothic style just leaves me a bit cold and uninterested. Plus, it’s just smashed up against the palace and seems out of place.
However, just because I don’t love the cathedral itself doesn’t mean I can’t respect its patroness, the Virgin of Almudena, right?
And by “respect”, I mean use her as an excuse to stalk some of my beloved Madrid chulapos and chulapas.
Everything is better when you add a little chulapo to the mix, right?
This past Saturday, Madrid celebrated its virgin patroness with a large mass in the Plaza Mayor followed by a procession back to the cathedral. And, of course, any Madrid celebration means chulapos galore, which means that as I was pretending to deeply revere the city’s numero uno virgin, I could also get a glimpse of Madrid’s best dressed revellers.
First, a little history on the virgin. Like myself, there are quite a few legends about her past. One of the most common stories about la Amudena is that before Muslim forces captured Madrid in 712, the locals hid the virgin inside the walls that surrounded the town. In the 11th century, after the recoquisition of Madrid, the Christian soldiers tried unsuccessfully to find the statue. Finally, as they were praying, the part of the wall where the icon had been hidden began to crumble, revealing the statue. Another story says that during the reconquista, a vision of the Mary led the Christian soldiers to the city walls, crumbing a part so that the soldiers could enter the city unseen and reconquer the beloved town. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
The Almudena Mass
And now that you’ve had your history lesson on Madrid’s fav virgin, here are a few photos of the party in her honor. The first part of the celebration was a long, formal mass in the Plaza Mayor. (And no, I was not struck by lightning, you jerk.)
Madrid’s Chulapos and Chulapas
The mass was very nice, but let’s face it: the real party doesn’t start until the chulapos begin to strut their stuff. Once the mass was over, these spunky Madrileños led the procession to the cathedral, followed by various local parochial groups dressed in traditional clothing.
So there you have it: Another Madrid celebration as well as another piece of evidence to add to the file when these people charge me for stalking. I don’t care. If chulapo stalking is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.