The Christmas holidays in Mallorca are celebrated in the mild Mediterranean winter. This, combined with the festive lights and decorations adorning streets and squares, is an invitation for you to wander the towns after the sun has gone down. The Christmas lights in Palma are turned on in late November, kicking off these special festive days. And from the beginning of December you can visit some spectacular nativity scenes in churches, town halls or shopping centres, and walk around the traditional Christmas markets where you can buy figurines for nativity scenes, Mallorcan crafts and/or pastries from the convents and monasteries of the island.
Unlike in other parts of Spain, the Christmas Eve dinner is not the main event. On 24 December the Cant de la Sibil·la fills listeners with wonder in the traditional Matines (Midnight Mass). Declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010, this takes place every Christmas Eve (Nit de Nadal) in almost all the municipalities of Mallorca; the most popular Matines are those held in the Sanctuary of Lluc and Palma Cathedral. After Mass, families gather to enjoy a hot chocolate accompanied by ensaimada or coca de patata.
However, Christmas Day is the religious and family feast par excellence, when stuffed pasta soup, suckling pig or artisanal turrón are popular dishes that take pride of place on the table. 26 December, the Segona Festa de Nadal, is a holiday in Mallorca inspired by Catalan traditions.
Meanwhile, on New Year’s Eve, athletes can see off the year by participating in one of the races. That night, you can choose from a wide range of restaurants, hotels and nightclubs or you can usher in the New Year with the chiming of the bells in Plaza de Cort, or in the various squares where music will be playing. 31 December also coincides in Palma with the commemoration of the entrance of King Jaime I into the city, known as the Festa de l’Estendart: activities will be taking place throughout the morning.
Finally, on 5 January, the eve of Epiphany, the procession of the Magi is the absolute highlight of the most magical night of the year for Spanish children, as the Three Kings come laden with their Christmas gifts. Some of these processions, which tend to end with fireworks, have a centuries-old tradition, like the procession in Palma, which is about 200 years old.