Lots to celebrate on the Balearic Islands

The island is abundantly blessed with public holidays, particularly in January and the summer months. We have compiled a small overview for you so that you will know when you will be standing in front of closed shop doors, when it is time to be devout, and when it is time to celebrate.

Cathedral of Palma on New Years Eve

Cathedral of Palma on New Years Eve

 

In January the New Year starts on the island with numerous festivals. It goes without saying that January 1st (New Year’s day) is also an official holiday to enable, in Mallorca as elsewhere, recovery from the New Year’s eve celebrations.

The 6th of January is a particularly important holiday in Spain and is awaited especially by children as on this day the Three Kings come! Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, beautifully costumed and accompanied by a magnificent escort, arrive on the 5th January by boat in the port of Palma as well as in other harbour towns – in Port de Sóller or Cala Ratjada, for example. After their ceremonious arrival they ride through the city centre on horses with their courtiers in magnificent carriages, throwing sweets to the waiting children. On the morning of the 6th of January the wise men from the east go from door to door in the villages presenting the gifts (collected previously in the town hall) to the children. Custom requires the children to put out a glass of liqueur or cognac for the kings and water for the horses before going to sleep so that the next morning they have been replaced with presents. On three kings day, therefore, no one works, and business es are closed.

Animal blessings at Sant Antoni

Animal blessings at Sant Antoni


 

 

 

Only ten days later the festivities continue. The 17th January is a normal working day but in the evening there are festivals in honour of St. Antonio de Abad in villages like Sa Pobla, Muro, Capdepera or Artà. With their great bonfires, barbecues and lots of red wine, as well as the famous dancing devils, these festivals are not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

On the 20th January Palma celebrates its patron saint, Saint Sebastian, who is said to have liberated the city from the plague in the middle ages. The shops are closed and In the city at least four stages are set up in the central squares, and the Palmesans enjoy themselves until the early hours of the morning with barbecues and drinks.

Celebrations at Sant Sebastian

Celebrations at Sant Sebastian

 

On the first Sunday of February the jesters are let loose at the carnival of “Sa Rua” and the children’s carnival “Sa Rueta”, and lovingly decorated carnival parades pass through the villages. In spite of this there are no bank holidays in February. On March 1st, however, the shops in the Balearic islands are closed again and Balearic Day is quietly celebrated.


In April it gets serious once again –
Easter is coming., together with Christmas undoubtedly the most important festival in Catholic Spain and in Mallorca a real attraction. The Easter ceremonies begin on Palm Sunday, which this year falls on the 9th of April. At the Mass of the Lord’s Passion in Palma’s Cathedral La Seu, palm trees and olive branches are blessed with holy water. The following week is a time for repentance: Green Thursday (on the 13th April) is a regional holiday and the shops stay closed. In the Easter processions, numerous lay-brotherhoods provide a taste of the middle ages and giant saints, figures of Jesus and Madonnas are carried through the city and villages accompanied by eerily shrouded figures with long, pointed hoods. In Palma, there are more than 30 brotherhoods and the penitents move through the streets to the gloomy and ominous beatind of drums which determines the pace of the steps. Also on Good Friday, the 14th of April, the processions go on and all Spain’s doors remain closed. Only after the most important mass of the whole year, the evening mass on Easter Sunday in the cathedral (where every priest in Mallorca is present) are the sinners forgiven. After this laughing, celebrating and dancing can begin again.

Easter-procession through the streets of Palma

Easter-procession through the streets of Palma


Like in the rest of Spain on May
1st , the day of work everything on the island stops, but not on Mother’s Day which this year is on the 7th May.


In June on
St. John’s night from the 23rd to the 24th June picnics are held by candlelight on Palma’s and other beaches on the island, and luck-bringing, midnight bathing in the sea takes place, even though the days before and after are working days.


In
July, August and September many municipalities celebrate their patron saints’ festivals with lots of dancing, devils, music, markets and many other attractions and because of this shops are often closed for days in the villages concerned.

The 17th of July is not an official holiday, but it is still celebrated: On the day of the patron saints of the fishermen and sailors, the Virgen del Carmen, beautifully decorated boat processions with Madonna figures take place on the water in many harbours including those of Sóller, Porto Colom, Cala Ratjada and Cala Figuera. The Ascension of the Virgin Mary on 15 August is also an important national holiday in Spain.

‘Mallorca day’ on the 12th September, however, is a regional “Festivo”, while the 12th of October is THE national holiday in all of Spain commemorating the discovery of America.

The 1 November is All Saints’ Day, and a national holiday throughout Spain when people visit the cemeteries to pay respects and commemorate the deceased.


In December, the two national public holidays following each other almost consecutively, and Spaniards and Mallorcans use this fact to make a ‘bridge day’ between the two and take all three days off to rest or use for a short excursion. These are
Constitution Day on 6th December and the Day of the Immaculate Conception on the 8th December.

As in Germany the 24th and 31st of December are not public holidays, and the shops are open at least until midday whilst the Christmas holidays on the 25th and 26th of December are public holidays and time is spent with the family celebrating and eating together.

Christmaslights in Palma

Christmaslights in Palma

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