Special days to visit Mallorca: Traditions and Festivities
February 26, 2020
Some of the most emblematic events in the city of Palma have to do with religious celebrations that are still celebrated. Below is a list of events and traditions that are worth seeing and enjoying and we think are also a cause to find your “best time to travel to Mallorca”.
December 31st – January 1st: New Year.
New Year’s Eve is an ideal time to spend in Palma. The streets are full of Christmas lights, the shops abound with life and gifts and the city is stirred with the merriment of the holidays. And in case you don’t know the tradition of grapes, we explain it to you in a moment: Before midnight, it is custom to have prepared 12 grapes – there are people who eat them as such and others, like yours truly, who remove the seeds not to choke -.
All Spaniards, for a few minutes, are doing the same thing: either we are in the main square of our village/city, in front of the clock of the town hall waiting for the 12 bells of midnight, or in case we cannot go, we watch the broadcasting of the same thing on TV. With each midnight pealing bell, we eat one grape: therefore, 12 rings, 12 grapes. It is said that we must make a wish during the chimes. At the end of the ritual, everyone hugs, kisses and wishes for a happy New Year. In Palma, the place where this tradition happens is in front of the “de’n Figuereta” clock that is placed in the Town Hall, in the square of Cort. Be ready half an hour before midnight to get a good position and do not forget your 12 lucky grapes!
January 5th: the parade of The Three Wise Men.
In many cultures, the tradition of the Three Wise Men who went to Bethlehem to give to the newborn king myrrh, incense and gold, has been forgotten. In many others, their existence is known but not celebrated at all.
In Spain, we might say that the arrival of the Three Wise Men from Orient is more important than the visit of Santa Claus.
How we celebrate it? The parade usually takes place on the night of the 5th of January although “el Día de Reyes” -“the day of kings” – is the 6th. In each Spanish town/city the parade is organized differently. In Palma, the kings arrive by boat to the port, near “la Lonja”. From there, they ride in their floats and accompanied by pages, trucks full of presents, acrobats, musicians, peculiar characters and provided with many (many!) candies, they enter the city and ride the main streets in a parade of processions full of light, music and colour.
After fighting for their candies, children get back home and find their presents. In some cases, depending on the organization of their majesties, the pages themselves go home to home delivering the presents to the children.
January 17th – 20th: Sant Antoni and Sant Sebastià
The festivity of Sant Antoni, patron of animals, is punctual to its appointment every 16th and 17th of January, much loved by the islanders. The most eye-catching celebrations take place in Sa Pobla, Manacor and Artà, where between bonfires and “dimonis” (demons) are the protagonists of one of the most endearing festivals in Mallorca. Take advantage of your stay to know the island, find here what to see and visit in Mallorca.
On the other hand, throughout the week that surrounds the 20th of January, takes place the festivity of San Sebastian, patron of Palma, the city is full of activities, music and many other plans for adults and children. The “Revetlla de Sant Sebastià” stands out on the 19th January, very festive night in which all the squares of the capital there are concerts and bonfires are lit where residents and visitors gather to fight local gastronomic products.
Interesting fact! San Sebastia is the patron of Palma because an epidemi of Balck Death! In the middle of the crisis, a ship with knights of the order of San Juan de Rodas carried with them what they claimed was a relic of San Sebastián – an arm, in particular. Curiously, its arrival coincided with a decrease in cases of plague, so very soon, miraculous effects were attributed to the relic.
February 2nd (and November 11th): the Eight of Light at the Cathedral of Mallorca
The Cathedral of Mallorca, or also known as La Seu, has its back wall facing east and its façade faces west. On both walls, the cathedral holds two spectacular rose windows. The one on the eastern wall, the Gothic Eye, is one of the most beautiful in Europe with its more than 1000 pieces of coloured glass and almost 100m2 of surface area. The light show is given to us by the rosettes of La Seu when the biggest and the smallest line up to form an 8 wrapped in magic and mystery. This phenomenon only happens twice a year: February 2 and November 11 (2 and 11/11) at precisely 8 o’clock in the morning. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Source: Youtube – Alex Picó
February 14th: Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day! Flowers, chocolates and lots of love!Take a look at our article that explains everything you can do on Valentine’s in Mallorca.
February 23rd: Carnival
Every year the streets of Mallorca turn into a big party that combines costumes, parades and fun. Sa Rua is that party. The most colourful day of the year! Take out your costume and join the Palma citizens to celebrate the carnival: batucada, floats and lots of fun.
March 1st: Day of the Balearic Islands
On the first day of the month of March, we celebrate the pride of being Balearics. On the Day of the Balearic Islands, the city of Palma dresses up to start a series of events: street parades, live music concerts, gastronomic and craft markets, theatre and music for the little ones and much fun on the streets. Passeig Sagrera is flooded with handicrafts stands and palm trees are dressed in the colours of our flag: yellow, purple and red.
This year will be April 9th – April 13th 2020. Easter is the time when Mallorcans take the opportunity to be with their families. The tradition, deeply rooted in the island’s culture, dates from time immemorial: families gather on Holy Thursday to prepare the famous “Panades”: pastry made with lard paste and stuffed with lamb meat, peas and a pinch of “sobrassada”. Sweets such as “Robiols”, filled with cream, angel hair, cottage cheese or chocolate and “Crespells” are the easiest to make for the smallest of the house. All homemade, as you can see, the family prepares these delicacies to then bake them and eat them all together. These year, Urban Adventures will run a “Easter” workshop so you can join and learn how to make this traditional pastries! Ask for info thru email!
May 11th: Es Firó de Sóller
The show represents the battle in Port de Soller and Soller in 1561.
At three o’clock in the afternoon, the ringing of bells puts the people on alert. Enemy ships have been spotted. The peasants gather in the square of the Estiradors (Sóller) to go to the struggle. At 17:00 hours in the port of Sóller, the Saracen troops try to land but after a hard fight, they are rejected by the sollerics. In historical costumes, with black faces and their swords in their hands occupy the beach. The peasants, in the noise and smoke of the shotguns, try to defend their land. On the beach, you can observe the interpretation of the hard battle that had triggered. Some tourists find themselves with their hats pierced and their faces painted by the Saracens.
A second attack, on the beach d’en Repic also favours the invaders. After having won another battle in Pont d’en Barona (Sóller) a large part of the Moors arrives at the square. Along the way, they can’t help plundering the centre of the city. The town hall, the bank, the houses, the attackers go up the stairs and pull out gold and other valuables. At 20.00 hrs the looting becomes a hard battle when the Sollerics arrive, the square is filled with smoke, and you can see someone hanging on a tree. Finally, the peasants are the winners and their Captain Angelats proclaims victory from the city council. Together they sing “La Balanguera” and Moors and Christians spend the rest of the night at a big party.
June 23rd: Sant Joan
Although it is not a purely Mallorcan festivity (actually is celebrated in Ciutadella de Menorca) in Mallorca we have the habit of celebrating the shortest night of the year by going to the beach and lighting candles. You can usually see a lot of people with guitars singing (very “Kumbayá” style) . You may see some bonfires lit but we remind you that lighting a fire on the beach is forbidden and not eco friendly. The tradition is that at midnight, people bathe in the sea as a sign of a “rebirth” to leave the bad things behind and cleanse their body and soul. We recommend that you bring picnic food and enjoy a magical night. Remember to leave the beach clean of garbage.
July 28th: Festes de la Beata de Valldemossa
One of the most popular and deeply rooted celebrations of Mallorca that you can not miss. Full of colour, music, dances and tradition, the Festivities of the Blessed Santa Catalina Tomas dazzle every year in the municipalities of Valldemossa, Santa Margalida and Palma, honouring the most beloved religious of Mallorcan popular culture. On July 28th Valldemossa gives homage to its patroness with the peculiar parade of the Triumphal Chariot. It is an emotional tour of its streets in which the “Beateta” and her entourage of angels parade beside cars adorned with colourful ribbons and flowers to the music of the band and the “xeremiers” (bagpipes players).
September: Vermar de Binissalem
During the last fifteen days of September the whole village of Binissalem celebrates the end of the grape harvest. The Festa des Vermar attracts people from all over the island and beyond who come to enjoy wine tastings, grape-trampling contests, carnival-like parades and an outdoor dinner served with the Vermar Fideus ( a 4 out of 5 chilli pepper traditional noodle dish). A fun atmosphere awaits you and beware of stains if you approach grape battles!
November: Dijous Bo in Inca
This fair attracts about 200,000 people to the streets of Inca. The Dijous Bo (literally translated as “Good Thursday”) began as an important cattle market. Later has become a lively fair that has something for absolutely all tastes. There are a wide variety of stalls offering artisan products, leather goods and Mallorcan products. In addition, there is a fair with a lot of attractions. Dijous Bo is celebrated on the second Thursday of the month of November.
December: Christmas in Mallorca!
The streets are flooded with light, people come and go in search of their Christmas gifts and the city centre is full of joy and bustle. Christmas is an ideal time to come to Palma. Only the atmosphere that forms in the streets, the good mood of the people and the show of the first Christmas lights, are worthy.
If you are interested, there are some places that expose the “Belenes” (Nativity) that is a tradition to do at Spanish homes. Our mothers and grandmother got this habit quite rooted and sadly, young people is not into it, anymore.
Another super interesting thing are the Christmas Markets. There are some German Christmas markets that take place in Santa Ponsa and Pueblo Español, the Swedish Christmas Bazaar at the Swedish Church, the popular Market in Puerto Portals and also we have the typical stands in plaza Mayor of Palma where you will find everything to decorate your nativity.
El Cant de La Sibil.la
Declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010, the Cant de la Sibil.la, a song of medieval origin and of Gregorian melody, came to Mallorca from the hand of Jaume I, El Conquistador, to become the most unique tradition of Christmas.
On the 24th of December, this song stumps those parishes attending the traditional Mallorcan “Matines” (or, Midnight Mass). It is the Cant de la Sibil.la, a song of medieval origin that has only survived the passage of the years in Mallorca and L’Alguer.
Source: Youtube – UNESCO en español
It is sung without instrumental accompaniment, except for the preludes between stanza and stanza. Although it was initially sung in Latin along with a Gregorian melody, the first versions in Catalan have been documented since the 13th century. Starring a single person (normally a woman), it prophesies the arrival of the Redeemer and the Last Judgment. She wears a tunic, sometimes embroidered on the neck and at the bottom, usually accompanied by a cape. The imposing costumes are complemented by a sword that keeps suspended in front of the face and which, once the act is over, forms a cross. The character of the Sibyl represents the Oracles whose prophetic books were consulted in the ancient world to know the future of a community.
As you can see, there are plenty of “best times” to come to Mallorca! Take a short break and come to visit and experience the local traditions and festivities!
Bakery Cooking Class with a Local Foundation
Learn how to bake Mallorcan pastries, buns, and cakes with a local social foundation. Come and join us in a…
Learn how to bake Mallorcan pastries, buns, and cakes with a local social foundation. Come and join us in a bakery experience and learn how to make Mallorcan favorite pastries!
Ball de Bot with a Local Dancing Association
Discover the traditional folklore with this small show and a basic class of Ball de Bot! Learn how to dance…
Discover the traditional folklore with this small show and a basic class of Ball de Bot! Learn how to dance the traditional dance from Mallorca and enjoy a little show with two experts!
Love the look of our Mallorca tours, but feel like customising them to make exactly the tour you're looking for?
Love the look of our Mallorca tours, but feel like customising them to make exactly the tour you're looking for?