Every year the Moors and Christians day takes place in May and yet it owes little to historical accuracy. The origin of the current fiesta is the restoration of the Turkish domination over the Mediterranean sea in the late fifteenth century, beginning with its series of invasions in the western Mediterranean from Africa.
Charles V of Habsburg attempted to beat the pirates along with Aragon, Castilla and the Balearic Islands but he failed.
In the mid-sixteenth century nowhere on the coastline was safe from a pirate sacking, something that the then inhabitants of Alcudia, Andratx, Pollença and Sóller would have confirmed. The watchtowers dotted around the island bear witness to those pirates threats.
The Sollerics celebrate every May victory in a battle that took place in 1561. The way that it was won is not quite certain but everyone taking part wants to play the role of the Moors as they have the colourful costumes, faces painted black and they get to chase women and sail boats.
The beginning of the fiesta is announced at 3 o’clock, and the Moors sail out to sea, then return immediately to invade. On the beach, the Christians are waiting for them, and they fill their mixed powder guns and shoot constantly in the air.
Majorcan women remain outside at first and sing their songs of war. The victory against the Moors in Soller is attributed to the brave women of the town because, when the men seemed to be losing, it is the women who attacked.
As a spectator it is best if you watch the event with a sense of humor or join in the action….
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On Good Friday, on the stairways of the Cathedral of Palma, La Seu, you may see a very particular play of Christ’s “Via Crucis” or Way of the Cross, the dramatic moments on the road to Calvary and the crucifixion of Jesus are played out by the theatre group “Taula Rodonda” with dialogue written by the Mallorquín poet Llorenç Moyá.
The performance is regarded as the cultural zenith of the Semana Santa, Holy week of Easter, and thanks to the sensitive writing and the actors capable performances a particular and peculiar relationship hangs in the air between the performers and the public observers. The drama in front of the impressive Cathedral takes place on Good Friday at about 12 pm.
Semana de Pascua, Easter Week on Mallorca truly is spectacular. The festivities begin on Palm Sunday with the Mass. The festivities begin on Palm Sunday with the Mass of the Lord’s Passion celebrated in the Cathedral of Palma. Priests and believers pass through the alleys, led by the bishop of Palma. Palm and olive branches are consecrated with blessed water and numerous spectators decorate themselves with the green branches as well.
During Semana Santa, the Holy Week, enormous images of Christ on the Cross, Madonna’s and Saints are carried through the city accompanied by figures in long pointed hoods. Like this the various brotherhoods of Palma create a medieval atmosphere in the procession “Crist de la Sang” (The blood of Christ) – Goosebumps included! This procession, documented in 1554 is one of the most important of Semana Santa.
The oldest brotherhood of Palma also dates from this time. There are 30 brotherhoods in Palma alone, 50 in all of Mallorca and most of them were established in the twentieth century particularly in the forties or fifties and a few in the nineties. The brotherhoods each have their own habit and hood colours, different banners and unique statues of Saints or of Christ on the cross. The Ceremony of the Silent Penitents (previously an all male affair, nowadays also has women members of the brotherhoods, there being one brotherhood that is only women) begins in the evening at the Plaza de l’Hospital and travels through the centre of the city along and crossing the streets of Olmos, Sant Miguel, Colom, Plaza de Cort, Paseo Borne, Jaime III, Calle Bonaire until reaching the Church, Iglesia de La Sang.
Each brotherhood is accompanied by a musical group whose drums beat the rhythm of the march. The figure, “Crist de la Sang” is the most important Crucified Christ statue in Palma. Only after the penitents have received their blessings can the celebrations of Easter begin. The Villages of Mallorca also have their processions and masses.
The Evening Mass on Easter Sunday is especially worth seeing as it is the most important Mass in the whole year and there is the presence of a great number of Mallorcas priests. The ceremony is led by the Bishop of Mallorca, with the highlight being the renewal of the sacramental oils. The oils which come from Bunyola are blessed along with bread, water and wine. On this day The Cathedral of La Seu is not only wonderful from the outside but also inside where the resplendent atmosphere of devotion is unique.
In Mallorca’s white winter you can see from the end of January until the middle of March the beautiful almond blossom.
Traditional Feast around the Sant Antoni Celebrations includes the blessings of animals – in catalán/mallorquin “beneïdes” – in many villages and cities on the island from Sunday on..
Holy three kings, Reyes Magos, arrive on the 5th January by the ship in a lot of harbours of the island but the pageant is extremely worth seeing in Palma. The Reyes Magos go loaded with package, delivered by parents for their children before, from the harbour to the town hall and by the oldest part of the town. The „cabalcada“ is one big happening of greatest importance for the children of all ages.
Earlier the Majorcan children received on the 6th January their Christmas presents. Today they write their long lists of Christmas wishes to the Kings as well as to the Santa Claus – there is nothing like being on the safe side.
The traditional expositions of Nativity sets around the island have been joined in the last years by the growing number of Christmas Markets – beyond doubt the influence of Mallorca´s multicultural society. The difference between the markets is not only their geography – Palma, Alaró, Puerto Portals, Santa Ponsa, Puigpunyent, Calvià, etc. – but also in the nationality of the organizers behind: in the heart of Palma organize the Scadinavians (well, rather Swedes directly); in Santa Ponsa around the mill it´s more german but downdown you can hear almost only english spoken… The Christmas Market on Plaza España in Palma is mallorcan… and all of them are about Christmas: the tree, christmas food, gifts and kids…
It brings a lot of colour to the Island, to start with the Christmas Market tradition (untill now it has been rather moderate) – now you can really recommend them in “Top Visits”!
Calender 2017 Christmas Markets in Mallorca:
Christmas Markets in Palma
24.11.2017 – 6.1.2018
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10 am – 9 pm
Location: Plaza Mayor, las Ramblas/Vía Roma and Plaza de España/Plaza de la Porta Pintada.
Christmas Bazar in the Scandinavian Church
Opening hours: from 11 am
Location: Avenida Joan Miro in Cala Mayor
Christmas Market in Alaró
Christmas Fair in Santa Ponsa
Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm, Saturday-Sunday 10amp – 10 pm.
Christmas Market in Misericórdia
Location: Plaça de l’Hospital, 4 · 07012 – Palma
Christmas Market en Puerto Portals
15.12.2017 – 7.1.2018
Opening hours: 12 am – 9 pm week-ends, 4 – 8 pm working days.
Location: Plaza del Puerto
Christmas Fair in Bodega Castell Miquel
Opeing hours: 12 am – 8 pm