The statue of Our Lady of the Almudena was brought to Spain by St. James, the apostle. It was hidden for centuries to keep it from being desecrated and destroyed by the arrival of the Moors in Spain in the 8th century. The search for the statue commenced after Spain was reconquered from the Moors in the 11th century. It was miraculously found on November 9, 1085 during a novena and procession held for the purpose of finding her image. Since then Madrid has celebrated annually the feast of Our Lady of the Almudena, the patron saint of the city, on November 9.
A makeshift altar on the Plaza de la Almudena in front of the Cathedral holds the floral and food offerings of the faithful. The two front portals of the Cathedral are open only on this feast day. (Visitors usually enter through the side doors.) I found long lines of people trying to enter the Cathedral through the main doors to visit the image of Our Lady.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Almudena
The crypt is a curiosity in itself. An impressive number of classical columns guide the visitor around the crypt with its side altars and tombs of prominent families. These families decorate the tombs of their deceased relatives with huge bouquets and wreaths on the feast of the Almudena.
There is also a procession from the Cathedral through the streets of Madrid on November 9. Festivities continue all day long. It's a moving tribute to Our Lady of the Almudena.
Images by travelswithcharie