Feast of San Isidro the Farmer

San Isidro the Farmer, Feast of

May 15
The Feast of St. Isidore the Ploughman is celebrated in Madrid, Spain, with eight days of bullfighting at the Plaza de Toros, colorful parades, and many artistic, cultural, and sporting events. Street vendors sell pictures of the saint, small glass or pottery bells believed to ward off harm from thunder and lightning, and whistle-stemmed glass roses, which provide a noisy accompaniment to the feasting and dancing that go on.
San Isidro (c. 1070-1130) is the patron saint of Madrid and also of farmers. He worked on a farm outside Madrid. According to legend, one day, as his master was spying on him to see how hard he was working, an angel and a yoke of white oxen appeared at Isidro's side. He was canonized in 1622, and local farmers still attend a special mass on his feast day, May 15. The Festival of San Isidro is celebrated in other Spanish towns as well, particularly León and Alicante.
San Isidro is also the patron saint of Saipan, capital of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean near Guam. While dance groups practice, men form hunting and fishing parties to provide food, and youth organizations clean and prepare the festival site. The fiesta begins at the end of a novena (nine days of prayers and special religious services). It features games of skill and traditional dances with prizes for the winners, and a great variety of foods.
Philippine towns and villages also commemorate St. Isidro. In Quezon Province, ornaments made from rice meal dyed in bright colors, called kiping, are attached to the fronts of houses. Townspeople and the priest parade through town and when that's over, the kiping are eaten.
See also Carabao Festival and St. Isidore, Festival of
CONTACTS:
Madrid Municipal Office of Tourist Information
Plaza Mayor 3
Madrid, 28013 Spain
34-91-366-5477
Marianas Visitors Authority
P.O. Box 500861
Saipan, Northern Mariyanas 96950 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
670-664-3200; fax: 670-664-3237
Philippine Tourism Center
556 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10036
212-575-7915; fax: 212-302-6759
www.wowphilippines.com.ph
SOURCES:
BkFest-1937, p. 302
FestWestEur-1958, p. 195
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 357
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 153
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 272
OxYear-1999, p. 208
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