Christmas in Mallorca is different from elsewhere, at least, it used to be. For a start, Christmas in Spain is, or used to be, a religious affair. It was traditionally celebrated as a family get-together with an opulent meal shared with friends on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and another meal shared with the extended family on Christmas Day. Even though religious allegiances have taken a bit of a decline over recent years in Spain, certainly here in Mallorca Christmas would not be complete without attending a church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The Chant of the Sibil.la is an important part of the Christmas service here in Mallorca (see my blog entry from last year). Children in Spain will normally receive their presents from the Reyes (January 6th, Three Kings) but, as a matter of pampering, they now seem to be given presents at both, Navidad as well as Reyes. Nativity scenes are an essential feature of Christmas celebrations here on the island as are Neules (paper doilies, see my blog entries 2008 and 2009). More about Beléns and Betlems any time soon. Turróns, Polvorones, Churros and hot castanyas form other unmissable ingredients of Christmas in Spain, albeit, without any religious connotations.
But, times they are a-changin’. With the influx of tourism over the last three or four decades, more commercial Christmas traditions such as the Christmas tree have made their impact on Spanish life as well, just like everywhere else. Christmas lights are alight by now in the city centres and Christmas fairs and markets are in abundance in Mallorca, catering for expats, tourists and natives alike. In Palma, there are Christmas markets in Plaça Espanya, the Rambla dels Ducs de Palma and in Plaça Major, until January 6th. There is a Baleart handicraft fair at the Passeig des Born with an emphasis on Nadal and Navidad, until December 8th. There is a Christmas market with a German bias at the Pueblo Español, until December 8th, and another one with a Spanish emphasis at the Festival Park, until January 4th. Also, there are one-day Christmas Fayres at the International schools in Palma (for instance Baleares International College, December 11th). There will be a Christmas market in Valldemossa on December 10th. There is a Christmas market in Calvià, too, until December 24th. There will be a Christmas bazaar at the Country Club in Santa Ponsa, on December 11th and 12th. Christmas carols and Christmas stories in English will be sung and told in Palmanova on December 12th, at the church of San Lorenzo. On December 13th, the Swedish community in Mallorca will celebrate the festivity of Santa Lucia, in Palma. There will be a Christmas market at the Hotel La Residencia, in Deià, on December 19th. The choice is all yours.
The Ajuntament de Palma has published a 32-page leaflet, Festes de Nadal 2010, giving a day-by-day listing of christmassey events and activities in Palma between December 3rd and January 6th, in Catalan and Castellano.
The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 30th, 2010. The time was 19:05:06.