Many people will usually spend their leisurely afternoon weekend in El Retiro Park in Madrid, especially when it is now spring and it’s the season to enjoy sunshine, flowers and greenery. Although today is Monday, it is a continuation holiday of the weekend so it remains busy - today is the exclusive Madrid's historic festival of " Dos de Mayor "
Finding a good place in the park free to enjoy an open-air coffee, sitting down in front of a place of green grass, many parents take their children to play together, the left front seat was sprinkled with golden statue of the sun, together with the cloudless blue sky, it is nothing but a pleasant view.
While doing the reading, it has been found that more and more people are coming to sit on the grass near a statue. And someone started using his mic for a speech, just under the crowd's applause I was shocked to find that, Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena actually visit here, ah! (This seems to be a low-key appearance.)
This statue, next to the café, in fact portrayed 19th century Spanish realist novelist Benito Pérez Galdós, today they would be reading his works next to the statue. According to the mayor, the reason for hosting such a reading is that although Madrid is the historical capital of Spain, and there are many statues of different writers and poets, not many people know them well. Therefore the city of Madrid began this reading activity in May inviting people to read out their works near the status.
Reading in progress. Photo: Apito
Madrid's historic festival of Dos de Mayo, originated from when people were fighting against French army during Napoleon's attack in the 19th century. Benito Pérez Galdós works precisely described life of the people under French regime two hundred years ago. And therefore, reading out his work on 2nd May is particularly meaningful beside his statue. There is also a series of upcoming reading activities, I can only say that I am very lucky to have chance to join this meaningful event! (Of course, I also saw the mayor and this is very, very rare!)
El dos de mayo de 1808 en Madrid by Spanish painter Goya
In modern buildings or public spaces, there often sees related statues; however for most of these it only becomes the names of places as we can never witness what these people have done. At a time like this in Madrid, literary poetry reading activities allow us to be in closer touch with them to understand more about the history of their lives. These stories allow and build a stronger connection with the city, and also allow the city to cultivate her own soul.