May 2: Costumed Battles and Celebrations

Events — By Sarah E. Rogers on April 24, 2011 at 8:54 am

Each May 2, Madrid celebrates the 1808 uprising against French occupation and Napoleonic rule. On that day the citizens of Madrid and the Spanish artillery units at Monteleón, who joined the rebellion against orders to stay out of the fight, fought against the French troops.

Where the Monteleón barracks once stood is now known as May 2 Square (Plaza del Dos de Mayo). Today, May 2 is a holiday in the whole province of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid), but the festivities will actually be celebrated from April 30 to May 8 with a host of cool concerts, movie screenings, and dance performances. The jewel in the crown though will be the battle re-enactment.


On April 30 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at May 2 Square, the site of the original Monteleón battle, different historical groups will re-enact the fight between the Spanish artillery units and Spanish civilians against the French troops. The re-enactors will be dressed in clothing of the period and use matching replicas of guns and artillery. It will be quite a sight!

[Image: Painting by Joaquín Sorolla Bastida, “The death of Pedro Velarde y Santillán during the defence of the Monteleon Artillery Barracks”]