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Mare de Deu, 75 Years On

mare_deu_2009

The town of Felanitx had cause for a little celebration yesterday. 75 years ago, the town’s people decided to have their Mare de Déu (Virgin Mary) fitted with a crown. For that purpose, a collection of jewelry was made amongst the families of Felanitx. The gems plus gold and silver were assembled to form the tiara. I believe that the crown was then sent to Rome in 1934, to be blessed by the Pope. Ever since, once every 25 years the statue of the Virgin is brought down to the church of Sant Miquel in Felanitx for a Misa Solemne, and so again last night.

According to legend, the statue of the Mare de Déu de Sant Salvador, the sanctuary just outside of Felanitx, was discovered by a shepherd during the 15th century. The sanctuary also served as a refuge during the 19th century when the Black Plague rampaged through the eastern parts of Mallorca, claiming some 900 lives in Felanitx alone. Many survivors at the time believed that it was the Virgin Mary who saved their lives.

The next celebration of the Coronació de la Mare de Déu del Santueri de Sant Salvador is scheduled for the year 2034. Make your bookings now.

The beautiful car in the photo (top) bringing the virgin statue down from Sant Salvador, is a Delage D8 120 dating from 1936, in case you wondered. The present owner’s father bought it then; the car has been based in Felanitx ever since.

As fate would have it, the Monasterio de Lluc also celebrated a coronation of their very own Mare de Déu, albeit 125 years ago yesterday. I could not attend, I am afraid, as I was busy in Felanitx. Sorry.

mare_deu_1934

The photo (top) was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 23rd, 2009. The time was 18:35:09. The photo (bottom) was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 23rd, 1934.

I wasn’t there in 1934 (not even alive then, mind), but Mateu Bennàsar Sansó (1906-1993) was. Muchas gracias to him and also to his son, Antoni Bennàsar Roig, who kindly explained the historical events to me.

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