Yesterday I did a survey for friends from Madrid challenging them to tell me about what made September 9th a holiday, and inviting them to tell a little about the person we were honoring, the reason for their name and if they knew anything about how it was celebrated…without looking for the information online (as I have!).
Only one person replied, and with a fairly solid answer too, I must admit. The rest may not have cared, or were off on a long weekend, but I get the sneaking suspicion many just didn’t know. That’s not a criticism, honestly. It’s just a cold observation. And it’s understandable. Surprising, but understandable.
So do people do anything special for Santa María de la Cabeza? No. Nothing at all. Not that I know of. Not even a cookout. This poor holiday is extraordinary for its inability to stir any interest in anyone. No fiesta, no romería (or religious procession in honor of a particular saint), nothing that I could track down. There probably lurks some kind of celebration, maybe a church that goes by the name, but if there is, it is so shielded from the public that it couldn’t possibly raise any excitement in the average resident. IfSan Isidrois a poor showing of how to celebrate a local fiesta, then this one doesn’t even rank. They might as well call it a September Bank Holiday, as the British might.
María de la Cabeza has not been entirely dismissed from the city. Her name still exists in a couple places inMadrid. The Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza, is a major street that leads up to the Atocha train station. There is also a Circle that goes by her name. And a statue of the her and her hubbie can be found on the Puente de Toledo. But other than that, there is little more to report. For now. There is a museum known as El Museo de los Orígenes, housed in the very same house where Isidro and María lived as a married couple. It’s in the Plaza de San Andrés in the La Latina section of town. The museum focuses in on, as its name indicates, the beginnings of this city, so no doubt the visitor will find a more complete vision that that which appears on this page.
Therefore, let’s toast to Santa María de la Cabeza, a woman who devoted her life to God, died, was beatified and revered, and decapitated for devotion’s sake, and whose anonymity has not left us without a the day off to spend some time learning a little more about who and what and when and where and, especially, why.
. Yours Truly, Brian of the Toe