The End Of Summer

A steep decline in air temperatures here in Mallorca over the last few days may indicate what the calendar already suggests: the end of Summer is approaching. Whilst a few days ago we suffered scorching heat with up to 35° C, and even 36° C in places, thermometers are now down to about 26° C, and even 21° C in places like Lluc. There were even a few drops of rain yesterday, at least here in Felanitx. It is not uncommon in Mallorca for stormy weather to prevail during the first week of September, often intermixed with a bit of the Gota Fría. Some people say, though, that the water temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea are not high enough for this phenomenon to occur this year. We’ll see.

The weather forecast is for higher temperatures again from tomorrow onwards and into the weekend, with temperatures reaching 30° C once more, and 28° C in places like Lluc but, undoubtedly, the big heat seems over for this year.

My photo shows the gorgeous shadows painted by the colonnaded arches in Palma’s Avinguda Jaume III, one of the main shopping venues for Palma’s nobility, including members of the Spanish royal household. The street is named after Jaume III de Mallorca (1315-1349), the King of Mallorca between 1324 and 1349.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 25th, 2010. The time was 14:40:55.

The End Of Summer

Intus Est, Qui Me Regit

The sundial in the photo (above) adorns the Esglèsia de Sant Agustí in Felanitx. The sundial is not the oldest to be found in the town of Felanitx, but it certainly has one of the more appealing designs. The church forms part of the Convent de Sant Agustí but, to my knowledge the monastery is not active any longer. The Catholic church in Spain suffers from a severe lack of new blood and also, even more so, do monasteries and convents. Nuns can more easily be recruited from places like South America or Asia, I understand, but male novices seem harder to come by. Times are a-changing here in Spain at a faster rate than elsewhere, it would seem.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2010. The time was 11:20:02.

Intus Est, Qui Me Regit

The Daemonic Fire Run

If you have never seen or experienced a Correfoc (fire run), neither my photo (above) nor the video clip (below) will give you more than a hint of this unique adventure. Words can not describe the utter lunacy and frightening force of the experience. Let me just say this much: if ever you have a chance to witness a Mallorcan correfoc, do not hesitate, go and see the event for yourself. If the health and safety people from Brussels will have their say, the correfoc days may be numbered any time soon.

A correfoc is not a fireworks display. Instead, firecrackers, flames and rockets explode around the public, below one’s feet, above one’s heads and at close range around one’s body. The noise is ear shattering, the sparks and explosions are everywhere and at close range. The event is (at least, was last night in Felanitx) accompanied by fast and rhythmic drum beats, and the people attending are frenetic in their dance movements. Sheer and utter madness, insane craziness, daemonic otherworldliness. Fantastic. Vibrant. Scary. Unique. Good.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2010. The time was 22:15:37. The video was borrowed from the Internet, thanks to YouTube and cafater81.

Moltes gràcies.

The Daemonic Fire Run

The Festes de Sant Agustí

Every year, the Festes de Sant Agustí begin with an early start. The verbenas concert the night before the festes finished in the early hours of this morning, barely two hours before it was time to resurrect the gall (cockerel). For years the cockerel was a live animal until the bird was replaced by a plastic replica. Only last year, the symbolic emblem of the Coso de Felanitx was represented yet again by a live cockerel, now safely protected in a wooden cage, and again so this morning.

Festivities will be going on all day today. After the resurrecció (see photo above), the cock was taken up to the church of Sant Miquel where the Coso was greeted by the parish vicar. Then it was time for breakfast and pepitos de lomo. Later today, a Pregó will be held at the Plaça s’Araval, whilst a mass will be celebrated at the Convent de Sant Agustí at 11h00, to be followed by a performance of the Cavallets de Felanitx. In the afternoon, children’s activities will be offered but not the traditional bullfight. Instead, Circ Bover will perform a Sine Terra show, to be followed by castellers (human towers). At 21h30, a Correfoc will be run from Plaça Santa Margalida to Plaça Pax. The last verbena of this year’s festes will start at 22h30 with a free concert given by the ubiquitous Horris Kamoi et al.

The video clip (below) was taken in 2006, showing the resurrecció of the gall in its plastic incarnation.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2010. The time was 07:27:55. The video was borrowed from the Internet courtesy of YouTube. Thanks are due to FORUMDEFELANITX.

Moltes gràcies.

The Festes de Sant Agustí

Folding Fans

Even though albanicos (folding fans) are not a Spanish invention, here in Europe, the Spanish folding albanico is probably the best known and most widely used of fans. Fans were possibly first invented by the Egyptians at around 3000 B. C. and then, the Chinese ca. 2600 B. C.

Fans are said to have come to Europe by way of Christopher Columbus who reputedly included a feather fan amongst the gifts given to the Catholic Queen Isabel after his first trip to America, where the fan was also known by the Aztecs and the Incas. Fans are not only a very clever device to keep oneself cool during the high temperatures of the last few weeks; they are also used as pretty wall decorations. At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, fans were also used as an instrument of communication during a time when freedom of speech for women was somewhat confined.

A language of the fan developed where gestures and their respective meanings amounted to a coded way of socializing and interacting. Here are some examples of how certain meanings were expressed by the position and gesture of the fan:

To fan slowly meant: I am married.

To fan quickly meant: I am engaged.

To hold it opened, covering the mouth meant: I am single.

To hold the fan to the lips meant: Kiss me.

To open it slowly meant: Wait for me.

To open the fan with the left hand meant: Come and talk to me.

To strike the closed fan on the left hand meant: Write to me.

To semi-close it in the right hand and tap it on the left meant: I can’t.

Of course the ladies at the time knew many more coded ways of expressing their sentiments. Much more useful information can be gained from the Todo Albanico website if you so wished.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 19th, 2010. The time was 12:17:01.

Folding Fans

Weather Vane

Abraham Cresques and his son Jehuda Cresques are two eminent cartographers of maritime maps and portolan charts from the 14th century. Their most famous single work may well be the Atles Catalán from 1375. A Rosa de los Vientos (Weather Vane) in their honour is displayed in Palma’s Paseo Marítimo, opposite the Auditorium, recognizing their importance for Mallorca’s seafaring history. The sailboat image was lifted from the Atles Catalán itself, a detail of which is shown below. The sailboat can be spotted in the left hand bottom corner. It depicts no other than Jaume Ferrer, a famous seafarer from the 14th century, his men and his vessel.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 22nd, 2010. The time was 10:49:30. The map was borrowed from the Internet. Thanks are due to Wikipedia.

Muchas gracias.

Weather Vane

Pasodoble

Music plays a vital part in Spanish life. The temperament of Flamenco, the passion of Duende being played on the acoustic guitar, the Celtic music of Galicia with its bagpipe, the unique music of the Bascque region, the Zarzuela of Spanish opera, the spirit of Pasodoble, possibly the most representative rhythm of Spanish music.

The dance of Pasodoble is a regular feature at Spanish popular fairs and village fiestas, not only on the mainland but, here in Mallorca as well. Pasodoble tunes will be played at bullfights and Pasodoble marches have a firm place in the repertoire of Spanish military music. When performed as a dance by a couple, the male partner assumes the part of a torero and the female partner, that of the capote (dress cape).

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 23rd, 2010. The time was 21:28:54.

Pasodoble