The best festivities in Mallorca in January
After New Year's Day there is still no everyday life in Mallorca! In January, other traditional fiestas are celebrated. Most of the festivities in Mallorca have Catholic roots and are held in honour of the patron saints. The veneration of saints is central to all the regions of Mallorca. Two particularly spectacular fiestas are not to be missed.
Sant Antoni Abat (Anthony the Great)
"La Revetla de Sant Antoni" is one of the most traditional fiestas in Mallorca and has been celebrated since 1365. This unique festival has its origins in Sa Pobla. Meanwhile the celebrations take place island wide. However, the following places on Mallorca attract the most visitors: Sa Pobla, Artá, Pollensa, Capdepera, Llucmajor, Muro and Manacor.
On the evening of 16 January, it is literally "all hell breaks loose". In the "Nit bruixa" (witches' night) before the name day of "Saint Anthony" the "hogueras" (pyres) are lit in many places and the "dimonis" (devils) roam the towns and dance their characteristic dance from fire to fire. The night is meant to remind us of the seductions that Saint Anthony experienced in the desert.
On this evening the Mallorcans eat in the streets. The inhabitants gather around "torrades" (fireplaces) to eat and celebrate together. The typical Mallorcan specialities grilled include "sobrasada" (paprika sausage) and "butifarrón" (blood sausage).
In the morning of the 17.01. the traditional processions and the "Beneides de Sant Antoni" (animal blessings) take place. According to legend, Saint Anthony was dying on 17.01. Two lions lay down beside him and guarded him. Thereupon he blessed the animals. Therefore, Saint Anthony is venerated as the patron saint of animals.
Mallorcans still bring their farm animals or pets to the church today to have them blessed by the clergy.
The story goes that Sebastian, a Roman soldier and Christian martyr, was murdered on January 20, 288 because of his faith. In 1523 Palma was struck by the plague. In that year the archpriest of Rhodes brought an arm bone of the martyr Sebastian to Palma. In a miraculous way the plague epidemic ended. The arm bone can still be seen in the museum of the cathedral "La Seu".
"Sant Sebastía" is a very special day for the island capital Palma. On January 20th 1524, Saint Sebastian was appointed patron saint of Palma.
This day heralds an extensive festive programme with street parties, concerts, funeral pyres and barbecues. For a whole week, Palma is transformed into a great public festival.
The "Revetla de Sant Sebastiá" takes place on the 19th of January. This year the Revetla starts with the parade with the "Drac den na Coca" from the Plaza Cort (Town Hall Square) to the Plaza Major. Afterwards, free concertss will be held in all the main squares in the centre of Palma. “Foguerons” (barbecue) are lit throughout the city, where products from the local gastronomy are grilled.
The highlight is the "Correfoc" (fire run of the devils) on 20th January, with demons, rain of sparks and musicians with "batucadas" (drums) and "xeremia" (bagpipes). With this spectacle the demons are driven out of Palma. This festival ends with a great firework display.