The Balearic Constitution Day

Almudaina Palma Mallorca_

Spain is politically organized into a total of 17 comunidades autónomas (autonomous communities), plus 2 ciudades autónomas (autonomous cities), Ceuta and Melilla. The Balearic Islands are one of the 17 autonomous communities having been accorded such status thirty-two years ago today, on March 1st, 1983.

Every year, the Día de les Illes Balears is commemorating the Estatuto de Autonomia Balear (Statute of Balearic Autonomy), or, in other words, the Constitution giving the legislative framework for regional law making. A range of festivities will be held today in Palma and elsewhere, and have already been held for two or three days. In celebration of Balearic Autonomy, March 1st is a public holiday, but this year the holiday happens to coincide with a Sunday. Oh, well.

Each of the four main islands organises a number of festive and institutional events on this day. For Mallorca, a PDF file with the programme of activities can be downloaded in Catalan from the Govern de les Illes Balears website.

Activities include a Trofeu de tir de fona tournament at Sant Carles, Open Doors at the seat of the President of the Govern de les Illes Balears at the Consolat de Mar, Open Doors at the newly restored Llotja, Open Doors at Castell de Bellver and Palau de l’Almudaina, Open Doors at nearly all the museums and galleries in Palma and the rest of the island, such as Es Baluard in Palma, Museu de Son Marroig in Deià, Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober near Alcúdia, Ciutat Romana de Pol·lèntia in Alcúdia, plus a few things more, too numerous to mention here.


The Balearic Constitution Day

Blessing of the Animals

Sant Antoni animal blessings Santanyi

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.

Blessing of the Animals

Mallorca Day 2012

La Diada de Mallorca (Mallorca Day 2012) will be celebrated on September 12th, 2012. The Diada commemorates the pledge made ​​by Jaume II in 1276 of the Carta de Franqueses i Privilegis del Regne de Mallorca (Charter of Liberties and Privileges of the Kingdom of Mallorca), which became the legal basis for the administration of this island. Festivities have already started. Today, there will be a Trobada de Gegants (Meeting of the Giants) in Plaça Cort, starting at 10h00. This year, a week-long gastronomic event will be held in participating restaurants all over the island. Check press for details or else, check the Consell website. A complete programme of activities can be downloaded here (in Catalan).

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 23rd, 2008. The time was 12:35:11.

Mallorca Day 2012

Hail the Melon

If you have nothing better to do, you could go to Vilafranca de Bonany (2,958 inhabitants) today and have a look at this year’s crop of melons. The Festa i Fira del Meló 2012 is exclusively dedicated to the melon and its impressive variety of specimen. The biggest melon last year weighed in at 20.70 kg and was grown by Tomeu Morlà. That was Senyor Morlà’s fifth victory in the annual Sandía contest. In a previous year he had championed the heaviest melon ever recorded in Vilafranca with a meló weiging in at 21.30 kilos. That’s almost half the weight of what one used to call a hundredweight in the old days. The Concurs del Meló mes gros will be held at 10h30. There will also be pieces of melon from Vilafranca for sampling. Bring a napkin. These melons are juicy.

Apart from melons and other agricultural delights (figs, prunes, tomatoes etc.) there will also be dog shows in Vilafranca today (Ca de bestiar, Cans eivissencs, Ca llebrer), a show of carrier pigeons, a sheep show, a Mostra de Porc Negre Mallorquí (Black Pig show) and much more.

If melons are not to your liking, you could make your way to Santa Margalida and its Festes de la Beata a Santa Margalida. The main event there will be held at 21h00 tonight.

The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Vilafranca de Bonany, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 3rd, 2007. The time was 14:38:29. The photo (centre) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Facebook and Deborah’s Culinary Island. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of

Thank you very much, and

moltes gràcies.

Hail the Melon

The European Day of Jewish Culture 2012

Next Sunday, September 2nd, the European Day of Jewish Culture 2012 will be celebrated in Europe, in Spain as well as here in Mallorca. This year’s event will be under the theme of The Spirit of Jewish Humour. According to the German poet Heinrich Heine, German humour is as heavy as German beer, English humour is misty like whiskey, French humour is light, fizzy and shiny like Champagne, whereas the Scots are deprived of any sense of humour (quoted from the jewisheritage website). Heine was born into a Jewish family, but later converted to Christianity in 1825, age 28.

In case you want to learn something, a Shofar (photo top) is a traditional Jewish blowing horn made of a mature ram’s horn, used as an instrument for religious purposes. And the photo (bottom) shows USA Rabbi Joseph Wallis, centre, at the site of a former synagogue in Palma in 2011 which had been replaced by a Roman Catholic church during the 16th century.

A concert will be given by Ana Alcaide at Castell de Bellver on September 1st, 21h00, as part of the European Day of Jewish Culture. The synagogue in Palma will hold a day of Open Doors on September 2nd, 10h00 to 14h00. There will be guided tours through Palma’s Jewish Quarters on the same day at 10h00 (Catalán and English), 11h45 (German and Spanish), 17h00 (Catalán and German) and 18h45 (Catalán and Spanish), starting from Plaza de Cort. A documentary about the fate of the Chuetas will be screened at Teatro Xesc Forteza, at 20h30.

There will also be a Ciclo de Cine Judío. The following movies will be shown at the Teatro Municipal Catalina Valls in Palma (Passeig Mallorca), quite possibly in a Spanish dubbed version:

04/09/2012: El mundo según Barney/Barbey’s Version (Richard J. Lewis, Canada/Italy 2010).
13/09/2012: Judíos en el espacio/Jews in Space, or Why Is this Night Different from All Other Nights? (Gabriel Lichtmann, Argentina 2005).
18/09/2012: Te quiero, Alice B. Toklas/I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (Hy Averback, USA 1968).
27/09/2012: El Rabino y el Pistolero/The Frisco Kid (Robert Aldrich, USA 1979).

The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 7th, 2008. The time was 13:08:55. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of and the International Herald Tribune. Many thanks also to the photographer, Marta Ramoneda.

Thank you very much.

The European Day of Jewish Culture 2012

The Day When Felanitx Is Ruled By The Penyas

Today, the town of Felanitx is celebrating its patron saint day, the Festes de Sant Agustí. Every year, August 28th turns into a bit of a bit of a pandemonium here, partly because there is a lot of drinking Pomada and other alcoholic beverages and partly because on this day, Felanitx is really ruled by the Penyas.

There are a number of penyas in Felanitx, perhaps six or eight, but El Cosso is the original Felanitx Penya and by far the biggest. The symbol of El Cosso is Sa Kika, a live domestic cock, carefully carried round the vila in a small cage placed on a velvet cushion. For the last thirty years, there used to be a bullfight on this saint’s day in Felanitx, where the Cosso made a noisy appearance, but not any longer. There are no more bullfights in Felanitx.

Last year, there was an incidence after the church mass, when local dignitaries and politicians from Palma were reputedly harassed by some local Penya youths. A local police officer saw fit to use some teargas much to the surprise of onlookers. The disturbance ended in court and a number of rather draconian sentences were handed out to a dozen youths of 5,000 € each. It is rumoured that the Palma elite will not make an appearance at today’s church service which would really give the local Penyas the upper hand.

Tonight at 21h30, a Correfoc will be run from Plaça Santa Margalida to Plaça Pax. See you there, perhaps?

The photos (top and centre) were taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2012. The time was 10:37:25 and 09:41:39, respectively. The photo (bottom) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2011. The time was 09:10:47.

The Day When Felanitx Is Ruled By The Penyas

Slumbering Beauties

I have occasionally been asked about, or sometimes even been criticized for, my intermittent reporting on matters of the Catholic church. There were suggestions that my blog entries on monasteries in Mallorca, on churches, chapels and the Cathedral, or on festivities related to saints and saints’ days amount to promoting the Catholic religion or something to that extent. I keep explaining that an exhaustive blog on the subject of Mallorca would be flawed if it did not include references to matters of church traditions in a country as deeply entrenched in the Catholic religion as Spain was and still is. No, I am not a Catholic, I never was and I never will be. If I did a blog on Japan, I would certainly have to include topics of Shintoism or Buddhism quite frequently, don’t you think?

Every time, I point out that I continuously aim to give equal attention to other religions such as Islam, Sufism, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Mormonism or Jehovanism. After all, there has been a time in Mallorca when Catholicism, Islam and Judaism coexisted in perfect harmony for a few hundred years, or so it is sometimes claimed.

Okay, I have never reported on Scientology and I am not sure that I will ever consider it relevant.

Allow me to talk about the Virgin Mary once more, on occasion of the recent Festivitat de l’Assumpció de La Mare de Déu (Ascent of Virgin Mary). The celebration is also called Dormició de Maria (Dormition of Virgin Mary).

I have visited a number of church exhibitions of the Slumbering Beauties over the last number of years and this year, was all intent on filling in the gaps that I might have missed in the past. Easier said than done. When I was in Palma last Friday, I approached six churches plus the Cathedral but, I found myself locked out in all of them but two. Saturday and Sunday, the same happened in the pueblos. Of seven churches, only three were open for visits at the time of my arrival. For your perusal, I am offering you reclining Mare de Déu Dormida examples taken in – from top to bottom – La Seu (Cathedral) and Sant Miquel in Palma, and Campos, Felanitx, Santanyí and Porreres in the Part Forana (the hinterland). I was told that the most beautiful Virgin Mary statue was laid out in the parish church of s’Arracó (Església de Sant Crist), but I did not get there before time and the display there is now no longer on view, until next year.

This year, some installations will be on display until August 22nd. The parish church in Santanyí will show its sleeping beauty (above) until August 21st, the parish church in Muro, until August 23rd, and the church in Alaró, until August 25th. In Palma, the exhibition at the Església de Sant Francesc comes to a close on August 22nd, as will the one at La Seu de Mallorca. An exhibition Mostra de la Mare de Déu d’Agost will be open at the Monestir de la Puríssima Concepció until August 23rd. A Funeral Procession of the Ascending Virgin will be held on August 22nd at 19h00 at the Església del Monestir de la Concepció.

The photos were taken, from top to bottom, in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 17th, 2012. The time was 15:28:09 and 13:34:54, Campos, August 18th, 2012, at 11:05:14, Felanitx, August 15th, 2012, at 11:56:02, Santanyí, August 18th, 2012, at 12:09:45, and Porreres, August 19th, 2012, at 20:28:38.

Slumbering Beauties