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The Águilas in Pollença

I went to Pollença yesterday to see the Corpus Christi procession, with the swaying Águilas and the ritual dance of Sant Joan Pelós. I’m glad I went, even though I am not very satisfied with any of the photos I took. Let me explain: there were thousands of people lining the narrow streets of Pollença. It was too crowded for a decent photographic capture of the event. Also, even though the procession moved rather slowly, it moved still too fast to focus the lens repeatedly and get sharp images every single time. I’ll have to try again next year and perhaps with a better camera.

Anyway, if you heeded my advice to go to Pollença you will probably have liked the ritualistic show. I do not know about the origins of the two females carrying cardboard eagle figures who to me looked more like swans with short necks. But, whatever the origins of that custom, a very nice tradition it is. Some sources claim that this is a mediaeval tradition originating from Catalunya and Valencia. In Pollença, this custom seems first recorded in the 18th century. Yesterday, Saint John danced the streets there barefoot whilst carrying a lamb (alive, I think). This year, the two Águilas were represented by twin girls, Maria and Maria Antònia Vanrell. Both ladies’ robes were richly studded with jewels, gold and precious stones that were loaned for the occasion by a number of Pollença families. As of today and during the week, the gold and gems will be returned to the lenders. To avoid confusion as to who lent what, the pieces are stitched to the white dresses with coloured thread, with each lending family being allocated a distinct colour for all their items.

Below, I am offering you a photo of the Pollença Águilas, possibly taken around 1920, which I found on the Internet. Enjoy.

The photo (top) was taken in Pollença, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 26th, 2011. The time was 20:38:09. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of todocoleccion.net.

Muchas gracias.

1 reply »

  1. St. John is often symbolised by an eagle. Each evangelist is symbolised by a distinct beast. Hence the origin of the custom, I guess.

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