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Virgen de la Paloma / Virgin of the Dove -Madrid, Spain

Commemorated on August 15
Virgen de la Paloma / Virgin of the Dove -Madrid, Spain The origin of this festival goes back to the end of the 18th century when some children found a painting of the La Virgen de la Soledad in an old empty lot. A devout woman bought the picture from them and decided to hang it in her house on calle de La Paloma. Such was the devotion that local residents showed for the painting that the Virgin ended up being known as La Virgen de La Paloma. The image was so popular that it soon had to be moved to a small chapel and finally in 1912 the Church of La Paloma was built, where it remains on display to this day. Over the years what began as a Salve Regina the night of 14 August and a mass on 15 August has become a week of celebrations in honour of the Virgin and Madrid's traditional identity.


The Virgen de la Paloma is a Marian devotion of Madrid ( Spain ). Without being the official patron of this town (place of Almudena ), traditionally it considered "popular patron saint of Madrid" one and has enjoyed great devotion. In his honor is held annually the Fiestas de la Paloma , very pure-blooded . It is a tradition that dates from the late eighteenth century .
The image of the Virgin is a canvas instead of traditional carving. The table is in the center of a altarpiece located in the parish of Our Lady of the Dove and San Pedro Real , located in Pigeon Street No. 19, in the neighborhood of La Latina , also having another entrance by the Toledo Street No. 98. *Wikipedia) 


Firemen taking down the painting of the virgen de La Paloma.
Firemen taking down the painting of the virgen de La Paloma. / Courtesy of: Madrid City Council.
These days the most liturgical part of the festival is the procession of the Virgin. The painting of La Paloma is placed on a float adorned with carnations of all colours and borne on the shoulders of the city's firemen. The route is practically the same every year, passing by some of the La Latina neighbourhood's most famous spots, such as calle Toledo, Plaza de la Cebada and the San Francisco el Grande Basilica. The procession differs from all the others held in Spain, not only because those responsible for taking down the painting and carrying the float are firemen, but also because the chulapos compete with each other to flatter the Virgin with witty complements.


One of the main attractions of the fair is precisely that of seeing the streets in the centre of Madrid full of chulapos and chulapas, proudly showing off their traditional dress. The men wear starched white shirts, grey striped trousers, chequered waistcoats, white scarves at the neck, caps tilted to one side and patent leather shoes. The women wear long, tight-fitting dresses, scarves with a carnation covering their heads and, of course, Manila scarves. Watching them dance the famous chotis to the sound of the hand organ is without a doubt one of the most traditional images you can come away from Madrid with.



mong the virgins linked to Madrid , the Virgen de la Paloma is the most modern presence, since its history  goes back only to the eighteenth century , when according to legend was found a canvas depicting a woman with nun-like clothes, with a rosary hands, among a pile of firewood set in a yard.
According to some scholars, that table playing back a statue of the Virgin of Solitude , by Gaspar Becerra . However, others argue that it is the portrait of a nun by her father before her daughter entered enclosure. Some authors consolidates both theories in one and say that the painter made a picture of the Virgin of Solitude , taking as model a nun.
The reality is that found painting, reached the hands of some children who were playing with the canvas, until Andrea Isabel Inkwell , interested in painting gave them some money in exchange for it. The he repaired on their own and, as a pious woman who was placed in the doorway of her home.
Spread early this mediation Madonna was miraculous dove. Thus, the sister of Isabel Inkwell was the first to offer his son, newborn, to the image. It began in this way a tradition that has been maintained for over two hundred years. Today every Saturday of the year, morning Mass is celebrated for mothers to give their children to the Virgen de la Paloma . And on August 15 , celebrated his big day, the crowd collapses the Parish of San Pedro el Real for the offering to the Virgin.
Tan was quick fame, that Andrea Isabel Tintero in 1791 , asked permission to build a chapel. Granted all permits, collections began to buy an existing site on the same street of the Dove, who belonged to the Franciscan nuns of Santa Maria de la Cruz , convent was in the nearby town of Cubas de la Sagra . He acquired the land, began building the chapel, commissioned to Francisco Sánchez , to begin the work in 1792 and end three years later. The following year, on October 9, 1796, the picture of the Virgen de la Paloma was taken to the new chapel, which was appointed sacristan and manager Andrea Isabel Inkwell .
Fame was growing, especially among the most popular sections of the Madrid town . Filling the chapel of votive offerings and range of clothing the faithful offered their Virgin for the favors orders. Many became already occupy both ecclesiastical site visitor ordered that they be removed by the danger posed.
During the French occupation in 1808 , the chapel suffered the effects of looting, although the canvas and the jewels of the Virgin were saved to be saved by Isabel Inkwell , who died in 1813 without achieving his last wish: to be buried in the chapel. Today the square where the Church of La Paloma (Parish of San Pedro el Real) bears his name.
During the nineteenth century , the popularity of the Virgen de la Paloma continued to increase, so much so that the Queen Elizabeth II used to come to pray to the Virgin month of their pregnancies and her son Alfonso XII visited several times the chapel pray.
In 1891 , it was decided to replace the chapel greater passing the parish church of San Pedro el Real to Paloma . The building was built between 1896 and 1911 . A Latin cross and neomudéjar facade, flanked by two tall towers, was opened with the assistance of the kings, the March 23, 1912 . The windows were gifts of the Royal House.
The religious celebration was soon to be accompanied by a festival, the festival, which takes importance from 1875 . Pedro de Répide says that despite not being the oldest, was the largest by the number of locals who visited in the twenties. Proof of its popularity was the choice as the setting for some of the most famous zarzuelas, La verbena de la Paloma, a work the composer Tomas Breton and librettist Ricardo de la Vega, which was released on February 17, 1894 in the popular Teatro Apolo . His characters could be considered to some extent, stereotypes of neighboring houses Paloma neighborhood , in the years that elapses zarzuela.
During the Republic and fearing that 'La Paloma' the same fate as other churches, the box retired the Virgin and instead a copy is placed. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Pedro Labiana, president of the parish council moved its domicile to the streets of Altamirano and there kept the box inside the headboard of a bed.
However, in November 1936 , the house underwent a heavy bombardment would force better hide the box. Therefore, he was taken to the basement of a pharmacy in the Glorieta de San Bernardo, owned by relatives of the family. He stayed more than two years until the war ended was returned painting.
The August 15, 1939 Table resumed his place in the temple, but not the frame and keeping gold and diamonds. As a curiosity we note that the copy left in place of the real painting, was saved by a shoemaker, believing that it was authentic and was hidden throughout the war.
After the Civil War the picture was taken in procession on a fire engine, for several parishioners asked the staff of the municipal body, which made maneuvering near the Gran Via in San Francisco it helps to lower the picture of the Virgin Paloma . The year 1956 , a popular subscription allowed to acquire the current coach, however, tradition has been maintained and firefighters who are down box after Masses on the morning of August 15 , place it on the float and evening They escort the Virgen de la Paloma around the processional route, between cheers of residents, to replace the box once sung the Salve. Firefighters belong to the nearby headquarters of the Puerta de Toledo, between the Gran Vía de San Francisco and the Ronda de Segovia .



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