One aspect of Mallorcan life that residents and tourists value dearly is the sheer number of fiestas (local festivals) 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, colorful bunting hanging from balconies, stalls selling delicious local produce, and dancing in the main square…fiestas are something special here. However, you’ll soon realize that fiestas are not put on solely for the benefit of tourists. Some of these spectacles go back literally hundreds of years.
During March and April, you can experience several 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 an excellent Mallorcan festival. 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) 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 a 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 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 celebrating a local saint’s day, thanksgiving for a harvest, or commemorating deliverance from Moorish rule, get ready for a real Mallorcan party!