Festivals and traditions
During the summertime is when most of the villages celebrate their festivals with several activities and events for everyone, but there are also traditional celebratiosn all along the year.
Alpedrete has managed to maintain the spirit of its traditions and share them with the new generations and with the numerous tourists who visit the municipality.
Bullfighting shows, musicals, stew and religious devotion meet at the festivities that are organised. Also, other cultural events add up, so that one can enjoy even more the summer evenings in Alpedrete.
Santa Quiteria Festival (22nd of May)
Is the patron saint of Alpedrete.
On the 22nd of May, a large number of events are organised so that everyone can enjoy these celebrations in the surroundings of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Marian devotion is represented at its greatest on the eve of the festival when the people of the village go downhill to the Santa Quiteria Country Chapel (where the representation of the Virgin is kept all year) and bring the image of the Virgin uphill to the church.
The bullfighting shows and the caldereta dish served afterwards (prepared with the meat of the cattle grazed) are very popular with locals and many tourists who come here to live an unforgettable experience.
Our Lady of the Assumption Festival (15th of August)
The 15th of August is the day of the patron saint of the Alpedrete Church. In her honour, religious processions, as well as other events such as concerts, children’s games and fireworks, are prepared to be enjoyed in the surroundings of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Our Lady of Carmen Festival (16th of July)
Los Negrales neighbourhood organises religious services and events for all audiences to honour Our Lady of Carmen, in the surroundings of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Becerril de la Sierra
Becerril de la Sierra celebrates events, some of them of a great tradition. Religious celebrations are well-established but pagan ones, such as the Carnival, are also organised. All the festivities are designed so that everybody, including the residents of Becerril and the many tourists who come to the village, gets to participate and enjoy. The most outstanding festivities of Becerril de la Sierra are San Roque, Santo Cristo del Buen Consejo, San Andres, San Sebastian, Magi, Corpus Christi and the Carnaval.
San Sebastián Festival (20th of January)
On the 20th of January San Sebastian is commemorated by ringing cowbells, lighting a bonfire and tasting chocolate with “churros”.
Cruz de Mayo Pilgrimage (1st of May)
On the 1st of May a pilgrimage takes place with the May Cross in the Raso de los Enebros. Afterwards, camping accompanied by dances, charangas and children games are organized in this village of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
San Roque Festival (16th of August)
The 16th of August is the highlight of patron saint’s day celebrations in Becerril de la Sierra, which begin several days beforehand. It involves events for all audiences, where the residents of the Sierra of Guadarrama meet town visitors. Among them are religious services, sports competitions, cultural activities, live music, parades, folklore shows and free lemonade.
Local celebrations in honour of Cristo del Buen Consejo Saint (Mid september)
The celebrations take place in mid-September. This celebration is very well-received both among the residents of Becerril and among the numerous visitors from the Sierra de Guadarrama and other places. Some of the most relevant activities of the celebrations are the mass and the procession, bullfighting events, musical performances, sports competitions – including the pedestrian race Run Becerril -, fireworks, a popular paella with approximately 3,000 rations, literary contests and the election of the queen and ladies of the parties.
San Andrés Day (30th of November)
On the 30th of November, the festival of San Andrés – patron of the Becerril de la Sierra Parish Church – coincides with the Day of Our Elders. As a tribute to the saint and the elderly of Becerril, among other events, a mass, cultural activities and a meal are organised in this town in the Sierra de Guadarrama.
El Boalo, Cerceda, Mataelpino
Each of the three villages has its own festival which the three of them celebrate together. Traditional festivals, such as those organised in the summer and dedicated to the patron saints and pagan festivals liven the village up through dances, tastings and typical folklore.
San Sebastián "La luminaria" Festival (16th-20th of January)
The Festival of San Sebastián, patron saint of El Boalo, is celebrated from 16th to 20th of January. It is the most solemn and deeply rooted festivity in the village. Its observance, on the 20th of January, possibly comes from celebrating the end of the traditional slaughtering of pigs, which local people still carried out annually. It is this regained traditional festivity which allows people to participate in preparing different products from the pork. In addition to the morning procession, a bonfire or Luminaria is lit at night time, and all those who attend are served milk chocolate spiked with anise and the typical greaves cakes to help fight the harshness of the night.
Santa Águeda Festival ( 5th of de febrero)
On the 5th of February Saint Águeda is celebrated in Mataelpino. Better known as the Day of the Águedas, the Águedas are the protagonists of the festivity along with the patron saint. The women of the town and the nearby towns meet to eat together and play the role of matriarchs. It a wonderful occasion to strengthen bonds between families and between towns. The day begins with the assignment of the Staff of Command, followed by the mass and the procession. Afterwards, one can enjoy the dances, brass bands, the traditional tapas contest where “La Cresta de Oro” is disputed, and drinking hot chocolate with cakes.
San Isidro Pilgrimage (15th of May)
On the 15th of May, the pilgrimage to the El Boalo Country Chapel takes place. The chapel, dedicated to San Isidro Labrador, patron of the farmers, is located on the slope of the Sierra de los Porrones and from it one can see the La Maliciosa Mountain. The procession goes from El Boalo Church to the chapel; afterwards, a traditional mass takes place. Local people and those who visit the village can enjoy a rural outing in the recreation area.
El Boalo Summer Festival (July)
At the beginning of July, in El Boalo the Summer Festival takes place. Bullfights, bull runs on the streets of the town as well as night dances and children’s activities for neighbours and visitors of the Sierra de Guadarrama are organised. Do not miss the popular Brotherhood Dinner.
Mataelpino summer festival - San Bartolomé (24th of august)
On the 24th of August San Bartolomé is celebrated, and a mass, a religious procession in honour of the saint, as well as a pilgrimage to the park, take place. Apart from the religious activities, one will find a brass band that enlivens the streets of Mataelpino, bullfights, dances and activities for children. It is worth mentioning the BOLOENCIERRO, a unique and exclusive experience of Mataelpino. It is a race open to all audiences. In the adult race a large ball made of expansive foam, of about 150 kilos and 3 meters in diameter chases the runners along a route and all the way to the town square. In the children’s’ race, the ball is lighter, but the race is equally exciting. This race is getting to be known around the globe, and each year, more people participate. We encourage you to visit us during the San Bartolomé Festival, the week of the 24th of August, and enjoy with us our unique runs.
Summer festival in Cerceda (August)
Cerceda Summer Festival begins on the last Thursday of August and for three days bullfights, bull runs on the streets of the village, as well as night dances and activities for the youth can be enjoyed.
Christ of Hope Festival (14th of september)
On the 14th of September Cerceda states its devotion to the Christ of Hope. In an atmosphere of respect, a procession honouring him is organised. Various leisure activities take up the whole day, and the traditional “rabbit dinner” ends it.
There are special times of the year to visit Cercedilla. Apart from typical dates such as Christmas, Easter and Carnival to which Cercedilla adds a personal touch, two important ones stand out in its calendar: those of the patron saint festivals. Cercedilla also offers other alternative celebrations, such as the Aurrulaque Festival.
The San Sebastián Festival (20th of January)
On the 20th of January, the San Sebastián Festival takes place. San Sebastián is the patron saint festival of the town. Numerous activities for children and youth are organised, as well as rural sports demonstrations and popular dances performances. One of its most important acts is the religious procession with the Saint´s representation
The Arrulaque Festival (by the end of July)
It takes place at the end of July. This festival is designed to encourage people to get to know the surroundings and enjoy the countless marvels of the Sierra del Guadarrama. Therefore, tours along paths that end in a beautiful place, the Navarrulaque meadow are organised. Once arrived, a manifesto is read, and the cultural act ends with traditional music and dances. Along the paths, certain places in the memory of celebrities have been created.
The Nativity of Our Lady Festival (September)
It takes place for five days at the beginning of September, and it is a patron saint festival of the town. The events begin with the traditional announcement, followed by a pilgrimage to the Santa María Country Chapel, dances and music, exhibition of regional outfits and other recreational activities for all ages.
Honey fritters, pastries and doughnuts, all of it watered with litres of sangria. This is how the residents of Collado Mediano welcome each year and thus celebrate their patron saints, San Ildefonso and Nuestra Señora de la Paz, with festivities to show off. Although the tradition is the main focus of the festival of Collado Mediano, music and dance are also important.
The Festival of San Ildefonso and of Nuestra Señora de la Paz (23rd and 24th of January)
They are the patrons of Collado Mediano takes place on the 23rd and the 24th of January. On the 23rd of January, San Ildefonso is commemorated. The day begins with a mass, followed by a procession. The procession tours part of the town and arrives at the Town Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento) where honey fritters, pastries and doughnuts watered with sangria are tasted while listening to dulzainas and a small drum. The neighbours and visitors of this town of the Sierra de Guadarrama dance the famous “Rondón. One day later, on the 24th of January, it is the turn of the patron saint Nuestra Señora de la Paz. On this day, a mass and a procession are organized in her honour. Afterwards, the parish priest offers at the porch of the church a tasting of the typical honey fritters, pastries and doughnuts watered with sangria. The festival last four days, each dedicated to a community, boys, girls, married people and children. During these days there is dancing in the evening and at night, until dawn.
The May Cross Festival: (3rd of May)
This festival takes place on the 3rd of May and is a great gathering of neighbours and foreigners during which potatoes with meat are tasted in a unique setting, on the Roblelpoyo prairie. The cross is carried all the way up to the prairie and people eat, dance and sing around it.
Virgen de la Paloma Festival (15th of August)
On the 15th of August, the neighbours dress up as “chulapos” and “chulapas” for the popular dance that takes place in the Town Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento). It is a party for adults and children, neighbours and tourists of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Festival of the Most Holy Christ of Charity (August)
The festival takes place at the end of August and begins with the proclamation of the queen and her bridesmaids in the municipal park. During this six-day festival many activities for children, youth and adults, neighbours and visitors of the Sierra de Guadarrama take place: bullfights, cycling races, football tournaments, “chito” championships, clay pigeon shooting, card game championships, dancing, fireworks and a wide range of cultural, religious and festive activities. The festival ends in the Town Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento) with a great dinner of the Brotherhood of the Partners of the Fetsival in which a traditional stew of bull meat is served, followed by dancing.
Patrons and patrons are the main honourees at the Guadarrama festivals. In their honour pilgrimages, processions and less religious events such as bullfighting, concerts and other shows are organised. Guadarrama is also a place for music festivals lovers and for those who like to remember how people used to live centuries ago.
Virgen de la Jarosa Festival (15th of August)
Virgen de la Jarosa is the patron saint of Guadarrama. On her day, on the 15th of August, a pilgrimage and a parade of carts built by circles of friends, to the La Jarosa Country Chapel (one of the most beautiful places in the Sierra de Guadarrama) take place. There are also numerous concerts, bullfighting events, dances, children’s shows that make the town and its visitors happy.
San Miguel and San Francisco de Asís Festival (29th of september and 4th of octuber)
They are the patron saints of Guadarrama. Each one has its official day: 29th of September San Miguel Arcángel and 4th of October San Francisco de Asís. During these days, processions are held in their honour, as well as bullfights and bullfighting shows, children’s activities, dances …
Hoyo de Manzanares
Traditions, but updated, so are the festivals in Hoyo de Manzanares. Most of are held in honour of virgins and patron saints, but they get combined with other exciting performances: popular meals, bullfighting celebrations and, above all, a lot of dancing. Besides, thanks to the events organized in the town summer nights turn into a party.
Virgen de la Encina Festival (8th of september)
Her big day is the 8th of September, and a procession is held there followed by traditional games shows. Numerous bullfights, sports tournaments, fireworks, popular festivals and cultural events take place the days before and after this date. The Caldereta feast organised during the festival also worth mentioning, as more than 1,000 kilos of bullfighting meat are tasted.
This pilgrimage takes place at the beginning of October, and the procession honours the Virgen del Rosario. Once celebrated, a country meal is organised in La Cabilda Municipal Park.
Manzanares El Real
Summertime is when you can mostly enjoy the festivals of Manzanares el Real. Patron saint’s day celebrations and magical nights are the focus of these months. However, during the rest of the year, some festivals can be enjoyed.
Nuestra Señora Virgen de Peña Sacra Festival (First Saturday Pentecost)
These are the patron saint’s day celebrations of the town. At the end of the afternoon of the first Saturday Pentecost, the Virgin is carried away from her shrine. The town gathers around a granite stone called “the stone”, close to the Old Castle. To welcome the Virgin, Hail Mary is sung, and the procession proceeds to the church, the Brotherhood banner and a music band leading it. Upon arrival, a flower offering is made, the Holy Mass is celebrated, and at the end, the Virgin’s hymn is sung. Afterwards, dances take place in the square until early in the morning. On Sunday Pentecost, a mass takes place and a procession tours the main streets of the village. In the afternoon, there are dances in the square.
Virgen de las Nieves Festival (5th of August)
On the 5th of August, is celebrated the day of the Virgen de las Nieves. Among other events, a mass in her honour takes place. In the days before and after there are also celebrations and events such as the election of the queen and ladies of the village, running of the bulls in the morning and bullfights in the afternoon, sports competitions, exhibitions. The last day of the commemoration of the Virgin de las Las Nieves, the town prepares bull meat with potatoes for dinner, a dish which later is handed out in the town square.
Cristo de la Nave Festival
These are the patron saint’s day celebrations of Manzanares El Real and take place in mid-September. They are celebrated with sports activities, concerts and dances. On the 14th of September a High Mass and a flower offering followed by a procession touring the main streets of the town take place. Lemonade is offered afterwards in the town square. In the afternoon, dances lasting until the wee hours of the morning take place.
Miraflores de la Sierra
The inhabitants of Miraflores de la Sierra have managed to preserve many of the traditions that their ancestors already celebrated. Religious festivities are the most important, although there is also room for others such as the Carnival and La Rosca.
La Rosca Festival ( 3rd of February)
The first festival of the year is the San Blas Festival, which takes place on the 3rd of February. The previous afternoon, when the Candelaria festival is celebrated, the school children ran after the doughnut. The custom was to buy some doughnuts among all and race; the winner of the race became the owner of the precious sweet, which eventually they all shared. In the past, the Town Councils ordered three beautiful doughnuts with butter, anise seeds and candies. In the afternoon the town met with the local authorities and three races were held: the first for the married people, the second for the singles and the third for the kids, granting a doughnut to each of the champions of these groups. Nowadays, this festival still takes place, and although it is mostly a children’s competition, the whole town participates. The Town Council gives a doughnut to anyone who asks for one, and the winners of the contest continue to have the privilege of enjoying their great doughnut.
That afternoon you can hear the noise children and young men make by shaking the cowbells tied behind their backs. It is how they advertise the San Blas Festival.
San Blas Festival (2nd of February)
The festival begins on the 2nd of February, when the dog catchers get back to town from the mountains, formerly from the Pico de la Pala, making a big fuss with their cowbells. According to the tradition, during the French occupation, the Napoleonic troops ransacked the properties of the people of Miraflores, and the locals decided to recover them. Armed with cowbells, at night, they imitated the stampede of a herd of cows making the French troops that were stationed in the town to run away and thus recovered their belongings.
On the 3rd of February, around 09:00 h everyone gathers; the dog catchers wear a typical costume – a white top hat, pants and shirt, all adorned with coloured ribbons and bows and with scarves – and have cowbells placed on their backs and shoulder a shotgun. They begin the pilgrimage to the San Blas shrine where all the neighbours taste the traditional potatoes with cod offered by the town council. In ancient times the pilgrimage was from the town, but today many go by car to the countryside. Still, many others take a pleasant walk, thus maintaining the custom of yesteryear to go on foot. Once on the San Blas esplanade, sports competitions, such as races, and games for the youngest are held. At 13:00 h a mass is celebrated at the San Blas shrine, where the effigy of the saint is held; afterwards, everyone enjoys the tasty and traditional potatoes with cod that the Town Council offers to neighbours and visitors. After the meal, on the way back to town, while the music of drums and dulzainas is played, the death of the heifer is staged, and the lemonade offered to the neighbours represents its blood. The afternoon ends drinking chocolate and eating churros (small deep-fried batter sticks).
San Isidro Festival (15th of May)
Celebrated on the 15th of May, San Isidro is the quintessential patron of the peasants, he is the saint to whom many ask for rain. Traditions place his baptism in the San Andrés Church, in Madrid capital city.
The beginning of this festival, in Miraflores de la Sierra, took place during the 17th century, when the cult of this saint expanded through the rural communities, coinciding with his canonisation. It took place until the Civil War, after which the enthusiasm for this festival faded away.
At the end of the 60s, the president of the agrarian chamber gave a boost to the festival. The chamber covered all the festival expenses, but also kept the fruits of the auctions, and part of the allocations of the town farmers and cattle breeders. Nowadays, the procession is still held; wheat is thrown in the streets, and the farmers bring the tractors, from where they observe and participate in the march. Several people and children dress up as mountain-dweller and ride tractors. Typical products donated by the Miraflores de la Sierra neighbours are traded in auctions held outside the church. The bouquet of apples that hangs from the saint, from his arms and plinth is the last thing auctioned. Lemonade and cookies from the local agrarian chamber follow, and the festival ends with a dance in Plaza de España.
Virgen de la Asunción Festival (15th of August)
The patron saint’s day celebrations in honour of Virgen de la Asunción take place during the week of August 15th. The festival begins with the proclamation officiated by the mayor and the town councillor in charge of celebrations. Afterwards, the local preacher highlights the virtues and defects he has noticed throughout the year in the management of the Municipal Corporation. Following the proclamation, the young people together with the mayor or town councillor go to the New Fountain (La Fuente Nueva). In one of the big basins of the fountain, a vat of wine is placed. When the mayor or councillor get inside this basin, the most playful part of the festival begins.
The popular leisure activities in Los Molinos are divided based on brotherhoods. Each brotherhood has its Virgin or saint to praise to and its particular feast to honour them. Each organises the festival in its own way, but they all have in common the tradition and devotion to the saints.
San Sebastián´s Brotherhood Festival (20th of January)
The festival begins one day before the official date (the 20th of January), at 12 p.m., with the service of Vespers in the parish church and the song to the holy souls, accompanied by dulzaina and drum music.
San José´s Brotherhood Festival (18th and 19th of March)
It begins on the 18th of March with a triduum. However, the big day is the 19th, the day of San José. A mass followed by a procession touring the streets of the town is celebrated. Next, a meal attended by all the members of the brotherhood is organised.
Maria´s Brotherhood Festival (Friday of sorrows)
The Brotherhood of Maria celebrates its feast on the Friday of Sorrows. The religious services are a mass and a procession.
The Christ of the Good Death (14th of September)
The Christ of the Good Death is the patron of Los Molinos. On his day, the 14th of September, a Holy Mass followed by an outdoor procession in which his effigy is venerated and carried by the brothers along all the streets of the town are celebrated.
Moralzarzal has managed to maintain many of its traditions and added more recent ones which complement the others. Religious and town festivals take place throughout the year, so you can fully enjoy them.
La Luminaria Festival (January)
This traditional festival takes place in January in honour of San Sebastián. People gather around a bonfire and chocolate with churros (small deep-fried batter sticks), and cakes are served
Cruz de Mayo Festival (May)
It takes place at the beginning of May with a pilgrimage on the streets of the town and a mass in the chapel of La Tejera Park. Afterwards, barbecue and wine are served. Cultural and children’s activities also take place.
Patron saint's day celebrations (End of September)
They take place at the end of September. For a whole week, a large number of events and shows for everyone are held. Bullfights, children’s activities, musical performances, brotherhood meals and leisure events are some of the examples of how much can be done during these celebrations.
Las Puches Festival (1st of November)
On the 1st of November takes place this festival that recalls the house parties of the past. On this day, one can enjoy the traditional dessert known as “Puches” and prepared by the senior women of Moralzarzal, while listening to music.
Navacerrada has two main celebrations of great tradition and popularity among the locals: San Antonio de Padua – on the 13th of June – and Nuestra Señora de la Natividad – on the 8th of September. A large number of events and shows are organised, and they attract thousands of tourists who want to enjoy apart from the festivals, everything else Navacerrada has to offer.
San Antonio de Padua Festival (13rd of June)
The 13th of June is the crucial day of this festival that remembers San Antonio de Padua, patron saint of Navacerrada. The procession honouring the Italian saint, heads to the San Antonio Country Chapel, in the Dehesa de la Golondrina after having for breakfast anise-flavoured doughnuts. Log trimming competitions, games, horse-taming contests are organised, and tasty potatoes with ribs and lemonade are savoured.
Nuestra Señora de la Natividad Festival (8th of September)
On the 8th of September Navacerrada commemorates Nuestra Señora de la Natividad, but on the previous and subsequent days more celebrations take place, in what represents the patron saint’s day: Children’s Day, Women’s Day, Elder’s and Men’s Day are celebrated, so the whole population is represented. These days are full of events, notably the running of the bulls, the bullfights, the sports competitions, the musical performances, the parades and the religious services. Social harmony between neighbours and visitors also stands out.
Soto del Real
Soto del Real enjoys deep-rooted festivals and traditional celebrations. The town authorities and the neighbours put a lot of effort into organising them and making them unforgettable both to the residents and to the thousands of visitors. Some of the most outstanding examples of the Soto festivities are La Maya, the patron saint’s day celebrations and the commemoration of Nuestra Señora del Rosario
La Maya Festival (3rd of May)
This festival that is deeply ingrained in the population of Soto del Real takes place on the 3rd of May. With the arrival of good weather, the residents and visitors go to the countryside to have a snack; they bring along tortilla, rice pudding and peach in syrup, among others things and enjoy the music of the dulzaina and other traditional instruments. Moreover, in recent years, the typical regional costumes are being rediscovered, and La Maya or the Queen of the Spring is chosen among all the female attendees.
Patron saint's day celebrations (August)
Soto del Real enjoys its patron saint’s day celebrations on the first Sunday of August, but the celebrations continue the previous and subsequent days. Thousands of visitors join the residents of Soto and enjoy the numerous activities that are organised for everyone: musical performances, religious services, rides, fireworks, sports competitions, bullfighting and cultural events.
Pilgrimage to the country chapel (15th of august)
On the 15th of August, anyone interested can attend the pilgrimage to the country chapel in honour of the Virgin. A food village party with potatoes-based dishes and musical performances also take place
Nuestra Señora del Rosario Festival (7th of October)
On 7th of the October, Soto del Real celebrates the festival of the patron saint of Soto, Nuestra Señora del Rosario. It is a full day that begins with a mass, a procession and an auction of the butler of the Brotherhood position. Activities for children and food street party with potatoes-based dishes and lemonade are also organised. At the end of the day, people are invited to taste chocolate with “churros” (small deep-fried batter sticks).