The Day of Madrid celebration (Dos de Mayo) – History and importance for Madrid’s inhabitants
On the 2nd of May every year, the city of Madrid celebrates one of their most important historical achievements – the Dos de Mayo, in remembrance of the city’s victory over Napoleon’s invasion back in 1808. This is a public holiday in the community of Madrid that the inhabitants of the city celebrate through parades, concerts and sports.
The Day of Madrid / Dos de Mayo is not only important in the history of Madrid, but an integral part of its culture as well. Inhabitants of this long-standing city express their pride and joy in their rich history through this festival, and welcome foreigners and visitors to take part in their celebration. Anyone can join in the fun and the history, and celebrate this important day in the history of Madrid and Spain.
History of Dos de Mayo
A large portion of Spain, including the city of Madrid, was under French rule in the early part of 1808s. Madrid came completely under Napoleon’s army on the 23rd of March of that year, after King Charles IV was forcibly abdicated to make way for his own son, Ferdinand VII. Only after a few days of occupation, on the 2nd of May, the inhabitants of the city of Madrid rebelled against the French troops at the center of their city – at the Plaza de Oriente.
Needless to say, the French troops under Napoleon took brutal steps in suppressing the rebellion led by the mutinous residents of Madrid. Countless fights broke out in the streets of Madrid between the French troops and the unarmed citizens of the city. Hundreds of citizens were killed throughout the city in these unorganized clashes. Although the city of Madrid didn’t achieve much with these individual clashes, it was this act of rebellion that lit the sparks of independence in the area which led to the Spanish War of Independence. The War lasted for 6 years until Spain finally gained independence on the 17th of April, 1814.
The 2nd of May is indeed a red-letter day for the inhabitants of Madrid, and the Dos de Mayo an occasion they are fiercely proud of as an integral part of their history. Not only in Madrid, this is a celebrated occasion in the neighboring towns and communities, as well as in the whole of Spain.
Because of its historical significance, the Day of Madrid is also sometimes known as the “Day of the Autonomous Community of Madrid”; sometimes, it is simply referred to as the “Day of Madrid”. It was this particular rebellion in the city of Madrid – on the 2nd of May – that led to the Spanish War of Independence that finally freed the country from French rule. The whole city remembers this day with pride and joy, and celebrates it every year through cheerful festivities.
Dos de Mayo (The Day of Madrid) is a public holiday in Madrid. A number of celebrations are planned for the day around the city, in both public and private events. The main event of the day starts at the place where the original revolution on that important day in 1808 – the Plaza de Oriente. A parade organized by the police and the military starts here to commemorate the rebellion of the Madrileños over the French troop, which then travels through a many of the major streets of Madrid. The rest of the city follows with a number of similar displays and parades of their own. Most public and private businesses, as well as all educational institutes and offices remain closed for the day, with the exception of places where the public meet to celebrate – namely, cafes, bakeries, bars and food stores.
Parties can be seen in almost all households and even in the streets, and everyone greets each other with happiness and joy. A festive mood is seen all over the city, and native inhabitants welcome visitors with open arms to take part in their celebrations. Thy city of Madrid, as well as some of its surrounding towns, is indeed the place to place to be on the 2nd of May!