Mallorca’s annual Sant Antoni celebrations include a ritual called Beneïdes (blessing of the animals). The origins of this tradition are probably pagan when in the countryside one suffered the weather and the elements for one’s survival. The role of farm animals was significant and help was begged from the deities for the creatures’ protection.
Nowadays, only rural Mallorca still depends on farming and agriculture, even though the dependence is much reduced these days. Still, Beneïdes is an important date in the calendar of the rural community. During the celebration, farm and domestic animals are paraded to the local parish church to benefit from the Sant Antoni blessing. The saint is the patron saint of animals. Dogs and horses, sheep and geese, rabbits and cats, birds and donkeys, sometimes even rats or snakes make an appearance in the act of these celebrations.
The photo was taken in Santanyí, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 17th, 2013. The time was 15:54:52.
You may not live in Pollença and even if you do, you may not be inclined to consult the vast archive of the Municipal Library there. But wait, I may give you a good reason for a visit next time you’re in Pollença. Expect to be pleasantly surprised.
The Biblioteca de Pollença has recently moved to new premisses. I should rather say, old premisses, because the new home of the library is now in Can Llobera, a grand town house in Plaça Vella, right next to the parochial church of Nostra Senyora dels Àngels (Our Lady of the Angels). Can Llobera used to be the home of one of the wealthiest and most influential families of Northern Mallorca; amongst many other possessions they were the land owners of the entire Formentor Peninsula, in those days when non-agrarian land in Mallorca was not a very valuable latifundium. One of their descendents was Miquel Costa i Llobera (1852-1908), poet, priest and Hijo Ilustre de Pollença (Illustrious Son) as well as Hijo Predilecto de Mallorca (Favourite Son of Mallorca). Costa i Llobera is considered one of the leading representatives of Catalan poetry, ever.
For the simple act of asking, one is allowed to visit the non library areas of the premisses, including the old kitchen, the pantry, the patio as well as the Planta Noble (first floor), including still furnished drawing rooms, the master bedroom, the reading room and the reception room. Entrance admission is free of charge; you don’t even have to be consulting the library.
If you should be looking for accommodation in the rural area of Pollença, albeit just a tad less grand, there is plenty of accommodation for rent, such as can be found at Pollensa villas. You might use your holiday stay to visit the old town of Pollença and admire the way the rich lived in the old days. I bet you will be envious.