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The Festes de la Patrona in Pollença

If I had to choose my favourite Mallorcan festivity to recommend to a friend or visitor, they would probably be either the Pi de Sant Antoni in Pollença (in January), the Moros i Cristians in Sóller (in May), the Devallament in Felanitx (on Good Friday), the Corpus Cristi procession in Palma (in June), the Festa d’Estandard in Palma (in December) or the Moros i Cristians in Pollença (on August 2nd, i. e. today).

Pollença has its patron saint, the Mare de Déu dels Àngels (Our Lady of Angels). The saint is celebrated with the Festes de la Patrona which are held every year on August 2nd. The Festes are famous for their large-scale mock-battle between Moros i Cristians (Moors and Christians). The event refers back to a siege and attack by Saracen pirates in 1550, lead by a pirate chief called Dragut and an ensuing battle between his hordes and the good people of Pollença under their heroic leader, Joan Mas.

Reading this, you would be too late for today’s start of festivities which commenced at 05h00 in the main square where the traditional Auborada was performed, an anthem which is listened to in silence and which is played several times at different places in the town. Then, at 11h00, a mass is held in honour of the patron saint, where the Cossiers dance both inside and outside the church.

Locals celebrate all day long and all over town, all dressed either in pirates outfits (photo top) or in white cotton shirts and trousers (photo bottom), or white dresses in the case of the female population. A constant intake of small doses of spirited beverages helps keeping the mood on a cheerful level throughout the day until, at 18h00 an ancient statue of the patron saint starts its procession.

An hour later, at 19h00, the simulated battle between the two camps starts at the Plaça de l’Almoina. The young man who this year represents Joan Mas will cry Mare de Déu dels Àngels, assistiu-mos. Pollencins, aixecau-vos, que els pirates ja són aquí! (Lady of the Angels, help us. Pollençans, awaken, the pirates are here.). The battle itself moves to the football pitch on the outskirts of town where the historic skirmish is re-enacted in front of large crowds of locals and visitors. In all, there are three fights which finally end at the Pollença parish church, where the Christians sing a Te Deum and a Puix Patrona to give thanks for having defeated the intruders.

See if you can make it, either today or else, next year. You won’t regret a visit.

Both photos were borrowed from the Internet, the top one courtesy of balearsculturaltour.es and the bottom one, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es.

Muchas gracias.

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