Mallorca is, of course, the ideal destination for a holiday: whether you are looking for sandy beaches, dramatic trekking tours, culture or gastronomy you will find it all here; and no matter how many times you visit, you can always find something new.
Many of the fairs and fiestas of Mallorca can trace their origins to pre-Christian times, whilst others are more modern inventions. Below is just a brief over view of some of the most important celebrations on the island, and some of our favourites.
On the evening of January 5th, the Plaza Mayor of every town and village in Mallorca is full to the brim of excited children awaiting the arrival of Their Majesties, the Three Kings of the Orient, and more importantly, the gifts they bring with them. The kings choose many forms of transport - from classic cars to camels and they are often accompanied by spectacular parades of attendants. Brave the crowds in Palma for the biggest procession on the island, or head to any town or village to experience the fun on a more intimate scale.
On the evening of 16th January the winter sky of Mallorca begins to glow as bonfires are lit across the island. The strangely creaking music of the ximbomba, an ancient Mallorca instrument, begins to sound, and the streets are filled with the dancing shapes of demons, who chase the children and generally causechaos. This is the fiesta of Sant Antoni.
Earlier in the day you can witness the blessing of the animals, as anything and everything from a flock of sheep to a pet tortoise files past the church for a splash of holy water. And when the evening calms down, settle by one of the bonfires to roast sobrassada in the embers and enjoy a bottle of Mallorcan wine. The celebrations at Sa Pobla are amongst the most popular on the island.
Easter is probably the most important religious holiday on the island, even more significant than Christmas. For most Mallorcans the holiday runs from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday, and a lot of time over these days is dedicated to baking the traditional Easter pies and pasties, panades (filled with meat and peas), coccarois (vegetable pasties) and rubiols (sweet pastries filled traditionally with pumpkin jam).
Easter Monday is the day that the majority of towns celebrate their annual pilgrimage to a nearby chapel where Mass is celebrated followed by games for the children, and a picnic, where all that pastry is put to good use.
In mid June the village of Selva, in the foothills of the Tramuntana moutains, celebrates the annual Herb Fair. Although a relatively modern fiesta, the fair draws inspiration from the popular tales of Mallorcan oral tradition, the rondalles, that were not written down until the 19th century. Saturday night sees an unforgettable moonlit procession of giants, princes, dragons and the demons who are such an integral part of Mallorcan popular culture and on Sunday the village square fills with stalls, music and art exhibitions.
The Christian reconquest of Mallorca is commemorated in two of the island's most raucous celebrations. In Soller in May and in Pollensa in late July the towns are taken over by the battling Moorish and Christian armies with skimishes that can last all day. Not for the faint hearted, the battles are taken very seriously, with families owing loyalty to one side or the other going back through generations. In best Mallorcan style, the day finishes with a huge firework display.
October and November are dominated by agricultural fairs. One of the most picturesque, the Olive Fair, is held in the pretty mountain village of Caimari in mid November and dedicated to the fruit that was a staple of the Mallorcan economy for generations. On Saturday night the winding, cobbled streets of the village begin to fill with stalls of local products and you can experience everything from a traditional mule-powered olive press to the more modern delights of olive flavoured ice cream. The fair continues all day on Sunday, with sheep dog trials, pony rides and demonstrations of old rural skills. This really is the best way to experience the Mallorca which still exists in tandem with the tourist industry, but which is rarely experienced by visitors.
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