You would think that after Christmas time is over and people are finished celebrating the Three Wise Kings (traditionally in Spain, people used to celebrate more the arrival of the Three Wise Kings than that of Father Christmas) all would return to its normal state: people go back to work, kids return to school and all is over and done with. Well in Mallorca, that’s certainly not the case…
With January 16th comes the grand celebration of St. Antoni. Who’s St. Antoni you ask? St. Antoni was born in Egypt during the pagan times and dedicated his life to christianity by becoming a monk, blessing animals and helping others. After donating all his assets to his townspeople, he decided to lead a solitary life in a cave in Tebe. Legend says that there, the devil came to seduce him with evil thoughts but, with the help of God, he succeeded in fighting back. The Mallorcan festival was established in medieval times during the farming era of the Balearic Islands hence the importance of the Saint who dedicated his life to the protection of animals.
This exciting celebration lasts for two days (16th-17th) and has something for everyone: You’ll see the kids squealing with excitement at seeing the main village squares filled with dogs, turtles, sheep… brought for the Beneïdes (the blessing of the animals). But the eve of the 16th is when the party really kicks in. The towns of Sa Pobla, Manacor, Sant Joan and Artá are buzzing with atmosphere as the citizens impatiently await the arrival of the “devils” wearing realistic devil masks (some made from real bull horns and shark teeth) or huge figure heads caparrots and costumes to chase the excited children around the square and take part in performances and dances involving “St. Antoni” to represent his resistance to their influence.
There’s firework displays and performances in every town but one of the best is in Sa Pobla where the town hall is lit up in red floodlights with either calming or thunderous music representing different parts of St. Antoni’s struggle meaning you don’t even have to know Catalan to understand his story.
(Watch here!>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6ZGISmUAG4 )
Most of the party takes place outside and with it being the middle of January it can get quite cold. But don’t worry, the festival includes big bonfires hogueras and barbecues torrades (where you can cook your own food) to keep you warm and toasty! Whereas if you prefer to try the traditional food of the festival, feast your eyes on the espinagada, an eel-stuffed pastry (not your typical English cheese and onion pasty, we know, but we assure you, it’s very tasty!); and the sobrassada, a pork pâté typical of Mallorca.
Combining the celebration’s main themes (fire and devils) you can join in the Correfoc which is a firedance consisting of a procession of devils arriving in big groups waving huge sparklers, dancing and inviting the public to come and dance under the fire with them. Even though it’s very fun, make sure to take the same, or even more, precautions as you would on Bonfire Night as you’ll be in direct contact with the fire, so make sure all your body is covered up: hats, scarves, coats, trousers, socks and big boots.
So why not try something different to anything you’ve ever seen before? Dance with devils, try an eel pasty, take your pet to the village square to be blessed… Join in the celebrations on 16th and 17th in any of the towns mentioned above and let yourself in for an unforgettable experience. For any queries about the festival contact us on our:
contact page (http://www.granisla.com/contact-us),
or Google+ (https://plus.google.com/103500295432222511106)
Otherwise, watch this video which will surely convince you to come to next year’s celebration! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2rdxeOkYMM