Madrid May 2nd – Madrid Community Day
May 2 in Madrid also known as Madrid Community Day is a public holiday. This day falls just after another Labor Day holiday, May 1st. The festivity, which is a kind of party for the community of Madrid, is passionately celebrated with community meals, parties and even markets; everything closes that day. People wait anxiously throughout the year for these fiestas while (it should be mentioned that San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid, arrives 15 days later). There they meet and enjoy the parades of the city.
This holiday has historical significance for the people as they remember what happened to prove to be an epitome of their nationality. To commemorate the sacrifices of the brave men and women responsible for the May 2 uprising. Leading to independence from Spain after liberating the kingdom from the monarchy of Carlos IV, people share meals and talk throughout the day. The best and most popular way to celebrate and enjoy visiting different historical sites are the places where it all happened.
You can see it on the streets as well as events around the city how people celebrate it. The fervor and festive nature of the winners of the Peninsula War underscore their importance.
May 2, 1808
March 1808, the year in which the Napoleonic troops occupied Spain, the people, mainly peasants and pheasants, began to gather in Madrid rebelling against the Napoleonic troops, their main weapons were their work tools (hoes, tridents, scythes) demanding freedom and exclusion of Napoleonic troops. This did not end well as Napoleonic troops captured all the disruptors and later executed them in the May 2 executions. Although this revolt turned out to be the first step towards organized struggle.
The heroes of this revolt became icons through Goya’s paintings “The executions of May 2” and Sorolla’s about the revolt. The paintings had powerful images and hit people’s hearts very hard. This greatly influenced people’s minds at that time, when there was no other source of images like television or print. The places where the different conflicts took place have become monuments of great sacrifices.
Places to visit
One of the most interesting places to visit on May 2 is the Prado Museum. It is the main National Art Museum of Spain. It has the largest collection of works of art in the world. The Museum building is a totally different look. Formerly it was a Royal Palace and later it became a museum. It also includes all the actual artwork, which is fascinating.
The Prado Museum, with the nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum, make up Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art and, without a doubt, the best place to visit on vacation. Apart from the Prado Museum there are more places to visit that are equally interesting as the Plaza 2 de Mayo. This is the site of the Dos de Mayo uprising. The place is full of life now, and you can find different stalls around it during the holidays. There are attractive bars and restaurants around Plaza 2 de Mayo. The site which is the monument of the great fight against Napoleon is now full of life, with a children’s play area too.
Another fun place to visit on vacation is the banks of the Manzanares River.
In the 20th century, the banks of the Manzanares were a line of defense for the Republican forces during the siege of Madrid and the Spanish Civil War. Remnants such as bunkers can be found in areas outside of the city. The Manzanares riverside has been an inspiration for many artists who have come to feed their imagination.
Many photographers and painters have represented the beauty of the Manzanares riverside in their pictures and paintings. The riverside had been closed since 1970 due to the construction of the famous Madrid highway.
It was in the year 2000 when the government decided to make tunnels for traffic, and the riverbank was reopened to tourism. In fact, it was converted into a pedestrian-friendly park, with trails for walking, biking, and skating.
There are more than 17 children’s play areas and more than 9,000 pine trees have been planted along the river. Adults can enjoy the many terraces that offer food and drinks, benches and bridges to share romantic moments. There is even a “beach” area where one sits in the sun and feels the sensation of the warm sunlight. The Manzanares riverbank is a true glory of Madrid and a must-see place.
The history of the community day dates back to the first decade of the 19th century. After the Spanish mutiny against the ignorant King Charles IV, the French turned against their ally in the Peninsular War. The war began in 1807 until the troops of the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleonic troops in 1814.
The war broke out between Napoleon, Ireland and the Kingdom of Portugal, for control of the Peninsula. Hence, the name is Peninsula War. Suffering several casualties of all kinds, the victory of independence was never forgotten. This marked not only a progressive event in the time line of Spain, but also in the world.
In this sense, the Royal Palace is of great importance. The place where the crowd that ignited the uprising gathered. “Death to the French” is their rhetoric to lose the shackles and fight for everything. The oppressive nature of their conquerors was too much for any human. They knew they had to fight for their dignity, if for nothing else. Many see this as the beginning of nationalism in the Spanish masses.
May 2 is a day of remembrance. It is a day when people are reminded of all the oppression they face and their anger to act against it. It shares cultural and historical importance. Since the uprising was right after the mutiny against the ignorant king. The people developed a sense of devotion to their freedom.
So when we visit Madrid this is a good point to keep in mind: what made all these places so special? The banks of the Manzanares have a whole chronology of details to be known.