Virgen de La Almudena, November 9th
The legend goes that in the VIII century there was an image of the Virgen Mary, which the Apostle James had brought to Spain. During the invasion of the Arabs the people of Madrid were afraid that they would destroy this image and they decided to hide it in a niche in a wall.
Three hundred years later, the Arabs had finally been expelled. King Alfonso VI of Castilla knew the story about the hidden image, but he could not find anybody who knew exactly where it was. He asked the people of Madrid to pray in order to find the image. A procession went along the possible places where the image could be and when it passed the wall, this suddenly broke down and the image was found. They called this Virgen of La Almudena, because it had been hidden in a place called Almudin by the Arabs. Since that moment this Virgen was considered the Patron Saint of Madrid. First the image was put in the parish of Santa Maria, a small church which was demolished in the XIX century. Some remains can be seen in Calle Mayor. The sculpture of a man looking at them shows us where they are.
The image has been in different churches until it was moved to the La Almudena Cathedral in 1993, where it is on a gothic altar on the right side.
In 2007 a new image has substituted the old one.
Madrid celebrates its Patron Saint on November 9th. There is a mass at Plaza Mayor followed by a procession that takes the image along Calle Mayor and Arenal until it is returned to the Cathedral of the Almudena.
Many people from different parts of Spain take part in the procession wearing the regional dresses.
@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.