5 cosas típicas madrileñas que en realidad no son de aquí
The chotis is Madrid’s traditional dance. However, it was not invented here and we can actually find an etymological ‘trap’ that seems to indicate that its origin is also not authentic.
It turns out that chotis comes from schottisch, not from Scotland but rather from Bohemia, more specifically from Vienna. It became popular throughout almost the whole of Europe during the 19th century, and from here it extended to Latin America, where today we can still find the schotis in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay; the xote in Brazil and the shotis in Mexico.
2) Mantón de Manila
The mantón is a shawl made from silk and decorated with handmade embroidery, making up the chulapa, Madrid’s traditional costume. It is also associated with flamenco dancers, who wear it on their shoulders and shake its fringes to highlight the strength in their movement.
However, if we carefully examine an old mantón we will see dragons, bamboo and pagodas. Can you guess why? Exactly, its origin is Chinese. With time, these elements lost protagonism in favour of rosettes, carnations and other flowers.
So why is it called “from Manila”? Since the 16th century, in this Philippine port colonised by Spain, the products brought from the Far East were disembarked in Manila, products such as these valuable hand-embroidered shawls.
In parks and squares, especially on sunny days or traditional festivals, we can see this portable musical instrument that rings out happy melodies such as the aforementioned chotis. It is a kind of primitive gramophone, since its melodies are recorded in paper cylinders or perforated metal and are then played by turning a handle.
And so, this instrument that you can now almost only see on the streets of Madrid and whose unique sound is associated to operettas and our festivals, is also not an invention from Madrid. Furthermore, it’s not even Spanish; it comes from England.
With almost 300,000 trees in the streets of Madrid, the Spanish capital was second in the world ranking of number of trees per city, behind Tokyo. One of the most predominant species is the acacia, so much so that there is a street called Paseo de Acacias in the Arganzuela district.
They are tall and leguminous perennial trees with a greyish bark, mostly used in gardening as an ornament. However, these trees that you can find in their thousands in Madrid originate in fact from tropical and subtropical regions, most of them from Africa and Australia.
We leave for the end what perhaps is one of the most emblematic icons in our city: the Fountain of Cibeles, located on its homonymous square between the Bank of Spain, Cibeles Palace and Linares Palace.
The complex was designed by the Spanish architect Ventura Rodríguez in 1780, with Francisco Gutiérrez Arribas being the author of the sculpture. Nevertheless, the goddess to which the sculpture is dedicated is not from here: she is a goddess of Phrygian and Greek origin, associated to the worship of Mother Earth in Anatolia since Neolithic times.
Later on, she was adopted by Roman worshippers, through which culture we received this personification of a mature woman accompanied by lions, wearing a crown in the shape of a city wall.
Categories: Madrid Cultura