Allow me, please, to remind you that today, March 21st, we celebrate the World Poetry Day. The marking originates from a decision made by UNESCO in 1999 in Paris to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. Much to my regret, the Mallorcan language is one such endangered language.
Poetry is not just verbal or lingual; poetry is manifested in sound and in movement, in disposition and in structure, in shape and in chaos. There is poetry in nature, in life forms, in ritual and in art; there is poetry in maths and in music; poetry can simply be found everywhere and at all times.
There was poetry in yesterday’s eclipse of the sun, unfortunately not visible in Mallorca due to meteorological conditions, and there is poetry in springtime’s birth of nature with all its sounds and wonders.
Allow me to quote a poem by Joan Brossa, Catalan artist, poet and playwright:
Conec la utilitat de la inutilitat. I tinc la riquesa de no voler ser ric.
(I know the usefulness of uselessness. And I have the wealth not to want to be rich.)
Spain is politically organized into a total of 17 comunidades autónomas (autonomous communities), plus 2 ciudades autónomas (autonomous cities), Ceuta and Melilla. The Balearic Islands are one of the 17 autonomous communities having been accorded such status thirty-two years ago today, on March 1st, 1983.
Every year, the Día de les Illes Balears is commemorating the Estatuto de Autonomia Balear (Statute of Balearic Autonomy), or, in other words, the Constitution giving the legislative framework for regional law making. A range of festivities will be held today in Palma and elsewhere, and have already been held for two or three days. In celebration of Balearic Autonomy, March 1st is a public holiday, but this year the holiday happens to coincide with a Sunday. Oh, well.
Each of the four main islands organises a number of festive and institutional events on this day. For Mallorca, a PDF file with the programme of activities can be downloaded in Catalan from the Govern de les Illes Balears website.
Activities include a Trofeu de tir de fona tournament at Sant Carles, Open Doors at the seat of the President of the Govern de les Illes Balears at the Consolat de Mar, Open Doors at the newly restored Llotja, Open Doors at Castell de Bellver and Palau de l’Almudaina, Open Doors at nearly all the museums and galleries in Palma and the rest of the island, such as Es Baluard in Palma, Museu de Son Marroig in Deià, Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober near Alcúdia, Ciutat Romana de Pol·lèntia in Alcúdia, plus a few things more, too numerous to mention here.
Blogging is a strange and sometimes funny business.
I have been blogging about Mallorca, and a few other topics, more or less regularly since 2005. After a number of initial blog ventures, I started The Mallorca Photo Blog as a daily blogging exercise on June 10th, 2007, and kept it up rigorously until September 14th, 2012, when I was rushed to hospital for a major heart scare. After my recovery, I decided to take things, and blogging, more leisurely. I started the not-so-daily Mallorca Observed but for some reason, this new venture did not click the way I had expected, neither with my audience nor with my own self. In a parallel way, I was already busy with some other Mallorca-related blog activities, such as Postcards From Felanitx, Postcards From Santanyí, Postcards From The Real Mallorca and Plantarum Maioricarum. Earlier this year, I started two new blogs, A Year in Mallorca and True Mallorca. Oh yes, and there is Son Alegre Ecològic a blog about a wine making venture that I am involved in.
Amongst all these blogs and over the last five weeks, I seem to have composed 36 new blog entries, almost one per day, and I seem to be back to where I was before disaster struck. I’m not sure that I want history to repeat itself. My wife thinks that I am mad. I think she’s right and I accept that I have to get my priorities right, one way or other. One thing is for sure: I am rather madly in love with this wonderful island. I’ve been living here full-time since 1987 and we wouldn’t stay here if we weren’t loving it. I am also sure that I want to continue blogging; it seems that this is an activity where I appear to have something to offer.
The alternatives seem to be that I either reactivate this very blog, The Mallorca Photo Blog, or that I concentrate on one or two blogs, like the two new ventures started in 2015, A Year in Mallorca and True Mallorca, plus perhaps the wine one. I shall be thinking about it a bit more, sleeping on it and making a decision; I shall let you know what that will be.
In the meantime, why don’t you let me know what you think about it all?
Mallorca’s annual Sant Antoni celebrations include a ritual called Beneïdes (blessing of the animals). The origins of this tradition are probably pagan when in the countryside one suffered the weather and the elements for one’s survival. The role of farm animals was significant and help was begged from the deities for the creatures’ protection.
Nowadays, only rural Mallorca still depends on farming and agriculture, even though the dependence is much reduced these days. Still, Beneïdes is an important date in the calendar of the rural community. During the celebration, farm and domestic animals are paraded to the local parish church to benefit from the Sant Antoni blessing. The saint is the patron saint of animals. Dogs and horses, sheep and geese, rabbits and cats, birds and donkeys, sometimes even rats or snakes make an appearance in the act of these celebrations.
The photo was taken in Santanyí, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 17th, 2013. The time was 15:54:52.
You may not live in Pollença and even if you do, you may not be inclined to consult the vast archive of the Municipal Library there. But wait, I may give you a good reason for a visit next time you’re in Pollença. Expect to be pleasantly surprised.
The Biblioteca de Pollença has recently moved to new premisses. I should rather say, old premisses, because the new home of the library is now in Can Llobera, a grand town house in Plaça Vella, right next to the parochial church of Nostra Senyora dels Àngels (Our Lady of the Angels). Can Llobera used to be the home of one of the wealthiest and most influential families of Northern Mallorca; amongst many other possessions they were the land owners of the entire Formentor Peninsula, in those days when non-agrarian land in Mallorca was not a very valuable latifundium. One of their descendents was Miquel Costa i Llobera (1852-1908), poet, priest and Hijo Ilustre de Pollença (Illustrious Son) as well as Hijo Predilecto de Mallorca (Favourite Son of Mallorca). Costa i Llobera is considered one of the leading representatives of Catalan poetry, ever.
For the simple act of asking, one is allowed to visit the non library areas of the premisses, including the old kitchen, the pantry, the patio as well as the Planta Noble (first floor), including still furnished drawing rooms, the master bedroom, the reading room and the reception room. Entrance admission is free of charge; you don’t even have to be consulting the library.
If you should be looking for accommodation in the rural area of Pollença, albeit just a tad less grand, there is plenty of accommodation for rent, such as can be found at Pollensa villas. You might use your holiday stay to visit the old town of Pollença and admire the way the rich lived in the old days. I bet you will be envious.
The Mallorca Daily Photo Blog is no more. After nearly six years of daily blogging I experienced some rather serious health problems, albeit unrelated to my blogging activities, and had to spend some time in hospital. When I came back home and back to Mallorca I realized that things had to change in my life, and I had to reduce my stress level. So I decided to let go of my daily blogging adventure. I wanted to continue blogging and continue to focus on Mallorca, the island that I have called my home for the last 26 years. I have started a new blog, Mallorca Observed. Have a look and see what you think. The new blog is not done on a daily basis; that would be too much self-inflicted pressure, again. Blog entries in the new blog will be published if and when I feel like it, perhaps four or five times per months, perhaps more often, depending on news and events. So far I have published 33 stories on my new blog, and I have a few more stories up my sleeves. The archive of all the old stories will remain on air for the time being at this old blog, the MPB.
I hope to be able to welcome some of you at the new Mallorca Observed site.
Paco de Lucía, one of the greatest guitarists of all times, died yesterday in Cancún (Mexico). Born in Algeciras in Andalucía in 1947, the musician made his home in Mallorca in 2003 when he bought a place in the countryside between Campos and Es Trenc where he planted olive trees and pressed his own olive oil. Later he moved to the outskirts of Palma to enable his younger children to go to school at the Liceo Francés in Palma. In Spain, Paco de Lucía had been bestowed with the Premio Nacional de Guitarra de Arte Flamenco, the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes, a Distinción Honorífica de los Premios de la Música and the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes. He was honoured with a Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad de Cádiz and another one by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He was given two Latin Grammy awards for best flamenco recording, in 2012 and 2004.
The photo was taken by Montserrat T. Diez and borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Flickr. Thank you and muchas gracias.