Madrid 2nd of May also known as Day of Madrid is a public holiday. This day fall right after another public holiday of Labor Day on 1st of May. The holiday which is a sort of festivity for the community of Madrid, is celebrated passionately involving communal meals, parties and even markets are closed that day. People wait anxiously for the whole year for these holidays as they get to gather around and enjoy city parades.
This holiday has historical importance for the people as they remember what happened to prove to be an epitome of their Nationality. To commemorate the sacrifices of brave men and women who were responsible for the uprising of 2nd of May. Which resulted in the independence of Spain after ridding the kingdom from the monarchy of Charles IV, people share meals and talk through the day. The most popular and best way to celebrate and enjoy visiting different historical sites is the places where it all happened.
It can be witnessed in the streets as well as the events around the city how people celebrate it. The fervor and festivity nature of the winners of the Peninsula War highlights its significance.
2nd of May, 1808
March 1808, the year when Napoleanic Troops occupied in Spain, people, mainly farmers and pheasants started gathering in Madrid revolting against Napoleonic troops, their main weapons were their working tools (hoes, tridents, scythes) demanding freedom and exclusion of Napoleonic troops. This did not end well as Napoleonic troops captured all the disrupters and executed them afterward on the executions on May 2nd. Although this revolt proved to be the first step towards organized struggle.
The heroes of this revolt were made an icon through the Goya’s “Executions on May 2nd” paintings and Sorolla’s painting on the revolt. The paintings had powerful imagery and struck real hard to people’s hearts. These influenced greatly to people’s minds at that time when there was no other source of imagery like television or printing. The places where the different conflict occurred are now have become the monuments of huge sacrifices.
Sites to visit
One of the most interesting places to visit on 2nd of May is Prado Museum. It’s the main National Art Museum of Spain. It has the major collection of all the artwork done by Spanish artists including Goya and Sorolla. The building of the Museum is a totally different aspect. It used to be a Royal Palace and then converted into a museum. It comprises all the royal artwork too, which is mesmerizing in its way.
The Prado Museum, with the nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and also, check out the Museo Reina Sofia, forms Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art and undoubtedly the finest place to visit on holiday. Other than Prado Museum there are more places to visit which are equally interesting like 2 de Mayo square. This is the place of Dos de Mayo uprising. The place is full of life now, and you can find different stalls around it on holiday.
There are bars and attractive restaurants around 2 de Mayo square. The site that is the monument of the huge struggle against Napoleonic is full of life now, with a play area for kids as well. Another fun place to visit on holiday is Manzanares riverside.
In the 20th century, The Manzanares riverside was a defense line for Republican forces during the siege of the Madrid and the Spanish Civil War. The remains like bunkers can be found in areas outside the city. The Manzanares riverside has been an inspiration for many artists as they came here to fuel their imagination.
Many photographers and painters have depicted the beauty of Manzanares riverside in their pictures and painting. The Riverside had been closed since 1970 due to the construction of famous Madrid highway.
It was in 2000 when the government decided to make tunnels for the traffic, and the riverside was once again opened for tourists. In fact, it was made into a proper park which is pedestrian friendly, with walking, biking, and rollerblading paths.
There are over 17 children play areas, and over 9,000 pine trees have been planted alongside the river. Adults can enjoy the many terraces offering food and drinks, benches and bridges to share romantic moments. There is even a “beach” area where you sit in the sun and feel the sensation of warm sunlight. The Manzanares riverside is truly a glory of Madrid, and a must place to visit.
The history of Community day can be dated back to the starting decade of the nineteenth century. After the Spanish mutiny against the ignorant King Charles IV, French turned against their ally in the Peninsula war. The war began in 1807 until the troops from Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleonic Troops in 1814.
The war broke out between Napoleon, Ireland and the Kingdom of Portugal, for control of the Peninsula. Therefore, the name is Peninsula war. Suffering several casualties of all kinds, the independence victory was never forgotten. This marked not only a progressive event in the timeline of Spain but the world too.
The Royal Palace in this regard earns high significance. The place where the crowd gathered which ignited the uprising. “Death to the French!” being their rhetoric to lose all shackles and fight for everything. The oppressive nature of their conquerors was too much for any human to bear. They knew they had to fight for their dignity, if not for anything else. Many see this as the commencing of nationalism in the masses of Spain.
The second of May is a day of remembrance. It is a day when people are reminded of all the oppression faced by them and their anger to act against it. It shares cultural as well as 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 as we visit Madrid this is a good point to have in mind: what made all these places so special? Manzanares riverside has a whole timeline of details for you to know.
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