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Dances With Bears

Els Óssos i en Joanet de l’Onso is the name of a group of six infant dancers plus an adult leader who are part of a newly formed folkloric act in Campos, not totally dissimilar to the Cavallets in Felanitx albeit with much less tradition, or rather, none whatsoever, yet. Last Sunday and the Friday before they made their first public appearance ever. The occasion was the Festa de Sant Blai. Sant Blai (Saint Blaise) is the patron of the Oratori de Sant Blai, a rather beautiful chapel from the 15th century not far from Campos. The saint is said to help in cases of throat illnesses. In Mallorca, tradition has it that on this saint’s day (February 3rd), olive oil is first blessed and then offered to the congregation to be applied to their throats as a symbol of blessing and as a protective prevention. This custom is not restricted to Campos; it may have been practiced in a church in your very own pueblo; you can go there next year and find out.

Should you want to attend such ceremony in Campos or indeed, should you want to see the dances with bears, you will have to make your way to the Oratori de Sant Blai on foot, on bike, by horse or by donkey. That is what the tradition wants, in Campos, anyway. Cars and motorbikes are banned.

In case you wondered why there is a bear in the heraldic ways of Campos, I did wonder as well. I asked a friendly police man and was told that it derived from the unstructuring of the name Campos into its parts Camp and Os, meaning something like the bear field. Some linguists seem to disagree with that liberal interpretation, but there you are. The coat of arms of Campos does indeed show a bear, as does the one of Madrid.

The photo was taken near Campos, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 5th, 2012. The time was 12:10:56.

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