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The Santuari de la Mare de Déu de la Consolació


Sant Joan is a town right in the heart of the Plá de Mallorca, the island’s plains. The first settlement was built around the small Moorish farm of Alhamar (covering around 130 ha) in the district of Sineu. In 1235, after the Catalan conquest, the land was given to Arias Yánez, a Portuguese knight of Sant Joan de Verí (Coimbra), after whom the pueblo was duly named.

At a short distance from the proud town lies the Santuari de la Mare de Déu de la Consolació. According to legend, a shepherd found a statue of the Virgin Mary at the nearby hill of es Castellots. Today the statue is kept in the Consolació chapel.

Festivals have a special place in the calendar of Sant Joan. Every year in the run up to Easter, on the fourth Sunday of Cuaresma (Lent), the village people gather at the sanctuary to celebrate the Festa des Pa i Peix (bread and fish), also known as the Quart Diumenge. It is a religious festival celebrating the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. Tradition has it that coquetes are shared during the festa, small biscuits that are marked with the five loaves and two fishes of the biblical event.

Another festival of considerable tradition takes place on the Día de Sant Joan (June 20th), at the start of Summer. The village folk ascend to the Consolació sanctuary at sunrise to watch the sun dance when it rises. The festival ‘El Sol que balla‘ (the dancing sun) has pagan roots and is connected with the significance of nature for the cycle of life in a rural town such as this.

The photo was taken near Sant Joan, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 24th, 2009. The time was 16:36:36.

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