The San Antonio festival, the warmth of tradition
Sa Pobla, Manacor, Artà, Pollença, Muro or Palma vibrate with one of the most deeply rooted Majorcan celebrations
Celebrated on the 16th and 17th January, the San Antonio festivals evoke the not so distant agricultural past of the island. Full of typical elements such as demons, foguerons (bonfires) or the Beneïdes (animal blessings), its sounds and typical cuisine make this celebration one of the most loved by Majorcans.
Always sticking to the 16th and 17th January, its origins can be traced back to the society of the island’s agricultural roots, when people entrusted their animals to San Antonio, patron saint of all the indispensable animals needed for farm work.
Of all the municipalities that celebrate this festival, Sa Pobla, Manacor and Artà stand out the most. One of the most anticipated moments is the departure of the demons, a primal symbol of the festival, which marks the start of the Revetlla de Sant Antoni on the eve of the 17th, accompanied by traditional music and dancing in every corner of the towns. In the afternoon, large ceremonial acts take place. The previous bustle contrasts with the respectful silence that engulfs those attending the Completes, a solemn mass where Goigs, songs honouring San Antonio, are sung. When the public events are over, the celebration moves to the foguerons (open fires), where you’ll have the opportunity to taste typical products like sobrasada (cured sausage), botifarrons (Majorcan blood sausages), espinagades (a type of cabbage and pork or black eel pie), or coques amb pebres (a type of red pepper pastry) to the tune of ximbombes (a membranophone) and glosses (musical ornamentation).
On the day of San Antonio you could be part of one of the oldest traditions in Mallorca, the Beneïdes de Sant Antoni. Held simultaneously across many towns, they stand out for their high attendance, particularly in the towns of Muro and Palma. The Mallorca Cathedral esplanade fills with animals lined up to receive holy water at the feet of the priest. And if you’re still up to some more, there’s one more paramount event left: the Pi de Sant Antoni of Pollença. Volunteers drag a tree that has been cut down from the Ternelles forest to the town’s Plaça Vella, where it is lathered up before the youths of the town scramble to be the first one to reach the top.
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Cathedral La Seu - Catedral de Mallorca (Palma de Mallorca, mallorca)
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