Fiestas in Mallorca

One of the many perks that I see to living in Mallorca (other than the obvious glorious sunshine and proximity to the sea) are the many fiestas that this island has throughout the year. If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘fiesta’, it basically means ‘party’ and this island certainly knows how to throw one! Many holiday makers even plan their annual holidays around their favourite fiestas so that they don’t miss out on the fun!

As it would be impossible to mention all of the many fiestas in this article, we’ve picked some of our favourites, working through the calendar year in order…and January starts with Three Kings….

Three Kings

Three Kings is the last of the Christmas celebrations each year and for many of the Spanish, it’s the most important celebration, and certainly one that the kids look forward to the most as this is when they receive their presents!

 

So what happens during the Three Kings festival (Fiesta de los Reyes)?

 

This festival is generally celebrated over a two-day period. The first of which is celebrated on the evening of January 5th, where in many Spanish towns you will see a celebration of the arrival of the three wise men, following the birth of baby Jesus. This scene is re-enacted with large parades featuring mechanical floats, the three wise men (with giant paper mache heads) and various accompanying and colourfully clad participants who also feature in the parades. Sweets are thrown out by the ‘kings’ from the floats for the children to catch. It’s certainly a joyful and colourful scene to behold!   

The following day, January 6th is an important public holiday and a day when children receive their second set of gifts, this time from the Three Kings. It must certainly be an expensive time of year for Spanish parents eeek! There are many similarities to Christmas in terms of children writing letters, good children receiving gifts and bad children receiving a lump of coal. And similar to Santa Claus (Papa Noel), children leave snacks and refreshments for the Three Kings and their exhausted camels on the eve of the 6th.

The day of the 6th is a public holiday and is spent feasting at home with the family and enjoying watching the children unwrap their presents.

Many people tend to extend the festive period and head back to work only after Three Kings, which is great for us international folks as we also get an extra few days to enjoy the Christmas tree and before starting the dreaded January diet!

Easter Week (Semana Santa)

Semana Santa, or ‘Holy week’ is most certainly a week that is marked with importance on the calendar of the Mallorcan people. There are many important traditions and symbolic street parades during this week, starting with ‘Maundy Thursday’. On this day, many people take to the streets to watch the ‘Processo de la Sang’ which is certainly an experience not to be missed. It’s a very solemn occasion to behold with parades of hooded penitents walking in absolute silence, aside from the sound of a drum, beaten slowly and rhythmically as they walk slowly through the streets. This generally continues until around midnight. One of the most captivating sights of the parades is the ‘capirotes’ who dress themselves with pointed hoods with small eyeholes. These costumes are very traditional and serve to protect the identities of the individuals seeking prayer and penance in this very special ceremony.

 

Good Friday continues with further major events, including Christ’s Passion which is held at noon on the main steps of La Seu (Palma Cathedral) and continues throughout the evening with the sorrowful procession of Holy Burial (Sant Enterrament) which begins at Sant Fransesc in the early evening.

Easter Sunday, however, is a more joyful occasion and sees the celebration of Christ’s resurrection with religious services and parades across the island. A mass is held at Palma Cathedral on this day and it’s not uncommon for the Spanish royal family to attend this service. As this day also marks the end of Lent, it is a day of feasting amongst families. There are many delicious traditional easter pastries enjoyed on this day including tasty empanadas and robiols.

Aside from the religious aspect, this week is also one that we all look forward to, as it generally marks the beginning of the main season and is a time when the majority of seasonal restaurants, bars and cafés re-open their doors in the tourist resorts. There is generally more life around and summer seems just around the corner!

Fiesta de San Juan, June 24th

The Fiesta de San Juan is celebrated throughout Mallorca each year on the evening of the 23rd. This fiesta is such a magical one as it is a time when family and friends gather together with picnics on the beach, marking their area with twinkling tea lights. There are certain traditions associated with the fiesta. which celebrates John the Baptist, who famously baptised Christ. It is traditional on this night, to dress all in white, and to write down your wishes for the year on a piece of paper. These notes are then sent out to sea at midnight when people also bathe in the ocean and cleanse their body and soul. Bonfires are also a big part of this fiesta and many believe that jumping over the bonfires brings good luck!

To behold the sight of one of these many enclaves on this day with all of the candles burning will certainly give you goose bumps. Many local councils also build temporary stages at the back of the beach and arrange live music acts on this night. It certainly is a fun evening and a public holiday in many areas the following day so hangovers are allowed and expected!

Local Fiestas

Aside from the more well-known national fiestas, there are also various local fiestas and each one is represented with pride and Spain’s colourful and fun nature! An example of one of these local fiestas is…

Santa Ponsa Fiesta (Festes del Rei en Jaume) – this is a week long fiesta which celebrates the landing of Jaime I in 1229 and marks the recapture of the island of Mallorca from the Moors. A very popular parade kicks off with a re-enactment of the fight between the Christians and the Moors on the small beach and the parade continues through the main streets of Santa Ponsa with various performing groups in colourful costumes plus some beautiful and well-cared for horses.

Other days throughout the week on the schedule of events include the ‘Nit de Foc’ (Night of Fire) with some scary looking demons (demonis) dancing on the beach and some seriously cool pyrotechnics. If you go to this event dress in old clothes as you may get the odd spark and you certainly wouldn’t want to burn a hole in your favourite dress. All is very well organised and safe, just dress for the occasion!

The fiesta week ends with a spectacular firework display organised by Calvia Council across the bay. These stunning fireworks generally last around 20 minutes so pick a restaurant or bar with a view and you’ll have the night of your life!

Due to current Covid restrictions this event has not been confirmed for 2021 but we remain hopeful!

For a full list of fiestas, both national and local for the island of Mallorca you can take a look here – http://www.caib.es/sites/calendarilaboral/es/aao_2021/.

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