Island Fiestas and Folklore
One aspect of Mallorcan life that both residents and tourists value dearly is the sheer number of fiestas that take place throughout the island. Yes, Mallorcans love a party! And what a fabulous experience it can be to visit a traditional, picturesque Mallorcan town and witness the sheer effort
locals put in to make sure their festival is a wonderful occasion. Giant carnival puppets parading through the narrow streets, colourful bunting hanging from balconies, stalls selling delicious local produce, dancing in the main square…fiestas really are something special here.
However, you’ll soon realise that fiestas are not put on solely for the benefit of tourists. Some of these spectacles go back literally hundreds of years. During the months of March and April you can experience a number of important Mallorcan festivals as the island builds up to Easter. Holy Week kicks off in Palma on Maundy Thursday with an icon of the crucified Christ being paraded around the city’s streets and squares.
Good Friday witnesses solemn processions throughout the island, reaching a conclusion on Easter Sunday with services being held in most churches as well as in Palma’s magnificent cathedral, Le Seu. One highly enjoyable Palma-based festival not to be missed is the Nit de Foc (Night of Fire) held every June. Attracting revellers from far and wide, this fiesta takes place in the lovely Parc de la Mer in front of the city’s cathedral. Expect spectacular fire displays and huge bonfires.
It’s not just during the tourist season that you can enjoy a good Mallorcan festival. In fact, perhaps the island’s most spectacular fiesta takes place in the rather chilly month of January.
The annual Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos (Festival of the Three Kings) really is a joy to behold. Here, towns and villages throughout the island push the boat out to celebrate the three wise men who followed the star leading to the birth of Jesus. After parading through the streets in beautifully decorated floats, bonfires are lit acting as signal for some serious partying to begin.
A popular theme in the Mallorcan festival cycle is the commemoration of past battles between the Moors and Christians. Perhaps the best (certainly the biggest!) is the La Patrona, held every August in the delightful northern town of Pollensa. Don’t expect a jolly little fun-filled display here – the locals take it all very seriously indeed. Let’s just say things can get a little heated at times! But it’s all good clean fun and the kids love the spectacle and high drama.
However, perhaps the fiesta we at Best of Mallorca enjoy the most is the Feste de Sant Sebastia held in Palma. It commemorates the city’s patron saint, Saint Sebastian; the climax of three consecutive festivals usually featuring a fabulous firework display over the city’s waterfront. So whether it’s the celebration of a local saint’s day, thanksgiving for a harvest or to commemorate deliverance from Moorish rule, get ready for a real Mallorcan party!
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