“Alfileritos” Street in Toledo, Spain. We became very curious to know the origin of the name of this street and we now share what we have found. In Legends Toletum we find that “Alfileritos” is a long, narrow street lined with old houses and old palaces, which rises near the “Plaza de San Nicolas”, and dies at the “Plaza de San Vicente”, near the apse of the church of the same name. At the beginning of the street, and in a small alcove located on the wall of the left is an image of the Virgin Mary, before which you can see many pins of different colors and sizes. These are the offering of young maidens to the Virgin Mary asking her special intervention to get the best boyfriend.
Traditionally, girls flocked to the Toledo Street of “Alfileritos” , pray and state their desire, lightly pricking themselves with a pin which was then offered to the Virgin as a sign of true love and hope. The custom began in the sixteenth century and had its origins, according to legend, the forced separation of two lovers of Toledo because of the war. She was an important socialite of the city, and he, a handsome captain of the imperial troops of Charles V.
Legend has it that every night, the maiden, accompanied by her mistress, went to pray before the shrine of the Virgin, praying for the life of her lover and his early return to Toledo, where she remained praying until late hours. As sometimes she would be overcome by her sleep, she ordered her mistress, to prick her with a pin to keep her awake, the pin would then be offered up to the Virgin as a testimony of this sacrifice.
As time went on, the number of pins offered continuously increased, until finally the captain returned, unharmed, to his faithful love. Friends and family of the couple, knowing fact, attributed the return of captain to the prayers of his lady, and the pins placed in the niche. The story spread throughout the city, and soon other young ladies in similar circumstances, mimicked the action and so the custom grew among the women of Toledo heading to this street, since called Alfileritos, was to ask the Virgin for fortune to find the man of their lives. After pricking slightly, they offered the pin, hoping that the old spell of love and hope would be repeated.
More information on the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/leyendastole/calle-alfileritos