SAN ISIDRO FESTIVAL
Every year, during the week of May 15th, the city of Madrid has an appointment with some of its most important traditions: San Isidro Festival. It’s when all “madrileños” fill the streets of the capital with their typical costumes of “chulapos” and participate in multitudinary festivities in different places near the city center.
The background of this festivity is to honor San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of Madrid that lived in the 11th century considered to have a deep relation with water and crops. That’s why there is a tradition to visit the hermitage of this saint and drink the water of the font nearby, considered to have miraculous properties. The festivities of San Isidro date back to the 14th century, and they changed a little bit along the time with the incorporation of non-religious traditions, but the existing celebrations have been very alike during the last five hundred years.
The schottische is a partnered country dance, that apparently originated in Bohemia. It was popular in Victorian era ballrooms as a part of the Bohemian folk-dance craze and left its traces in folk music of countries such as Argentina ("chotis" and "chamamé"), Finland ("jenkka"), France, Italy, Norway ("reinlender"), Portugal and Brazil (xote, Chotiça ), Spain (chotis), Sweden, Denmark ("schottis"), and the United States, among other nations. The schottische is considered by The Oxford Companion to Music to be a kind of slower polka, with continental-European origin.
The schottische basic step is made up of two sidesteps to the left and right, followed by a turn in four steps. In Madrid, the chotis, chotís or schotís is considered the most typical dance of the city since the 19th century and it is danced in all the traditional festivals. Some of the tunes, as "Madrid, Madrid, Madrid", by the Mexican composer Agustín Lara become very well known in all Spain. The authors of the zarzuelas created a host of new chotis and strengthened their popularity.
Tomas Bretón: Habenera. "¿Dónde vas con mantón de Manila?
de "La verbena de la Paloma! (1894)