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

Fra Juníper Serra, the Mallorcan Missionary

Fra Juníper Serra was born in the village of Petra on November 24th, 1713. Padre Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25th, 1988.

Mallorca is currently busy preparing commemorative acts for his tricentennial birthday, next year. Padre Serra left his natal Mallorca age 36 as a Franciscan missionary for the “New Spain” in Mexico and never returned to his native island. In the Americas, he founded missions in Alta California such as San Diego de Alcalá, San Gabriel Arcángel, San Francisco de Asís, and San Juan Capistrano, which eventually would become the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Amongst a number of projects, a cinema film is presently in a phase of preproduction, launched by the Mallorca Film Commission, in collaboration with the Cluster Audiovisual de Baleares and the Mallorcan IB3 television channel, aiming to portray on-screen the life and vocation of the Mallorcan missionary. Let’s hope they can raise the finance. Michael Douglas once said, years ago, that he would be interested in bringing Juníper Serra’s biography to the screen.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 7th, 2012. The time was 15:11:01. The photo (bottom) was added as a postscript. It was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 22nd, 2012. The time was 12:40:00.

Fra Juníper Serra, the Mallorcan Missionary

Twelve Olives at the End of Sant Jaume

The Festes de Sant Jaume are celebrated every year on July 25th. Sant Jaume is the same as San Jaime in Spain and Santiago or Santo Xacobeo in Galícia. In Mallorca, the saint is acclaimed in pueblos such as Alcúdia, Algaïda, Binissalem, Calvià, Portocolom, Santanyí and Sa Pobla. In most of these places, festivities start a week or so before the saint’s day and they might conclude a few days after.

Last night, the town of Santanyí celebrated the end of its Festes de Sant Jaume with an act called Tic-Tac which was dedicated to the young population of the municipality, starting at 23h00. At the stroke of midnight, Sant Jaume‘s celebrations were concluded with everybody present eating 12 olives to the strokes of the church bells.

The custom dates back a few hundred years when everyone in Mallorca ate 12 olives at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Olives were a staple food here on the island, as they still are to this day. The customary 12 grapes at midnight had not cottoned on here as it had in mainland Spain or as it has now.

To my knowledge no other pueblo in Mallorca upholds the old tradition of eating 12 olives, neither at the occasion of New Year’s Eve nor at Sant Jaume‘s. Should you happen to know better, please let me know.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 28th, 2012. The time was 18:33:28.

Twelve Olives at the End of Sant Jaume

The Capella de Sant Bernat

The Catedral de Mallorca, in Palma, is well worth a visit, not least for the splendour of some of its 15 lateral chapels (there are four more chapels which are not normally accessible, and closed to the public).

I particularly like the altarpiece sculpted by Tòmas Vila in 1921 in the Capella de Sant Bernat, to the right of the Portal del Mirador. Previously, there had been a Baroque altarpiece adorning this chapel by the hand of Francisco de Herrera, but that one was destroyed by a blaze in 1912. The genius of Modernisme, Antoni Gaudí was working on an overhaul of the Cathedral’s interior at the time, and he commissioned a redesign of the Chapel of Saint Bernard. Gaudí abandoned the Cathedral project in 1914, though, due to disagreements with the Cathedral chapter and it was his disciple and assistant, Joan Rubió i Bellver who oversaw and directed the new artistic design of the Capella de Sant Bernat. Behind Tòmas Vila’s altarpiece (photo top) we can admire two stained glass windows designed by Antoni Gaudí in 1903.

The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 10th, 2012. The time was 12:35:10.

The Capella de Sant Bernat

The Maritime Procession of the Virgen del Carmen

Mallorca’s coastal towns and harbours will be celebrating the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen tomorrow, July 16th, together with a maritime procession in honour of the Mare de Déu (Virgin Mary). Port de Sóller, Port d’Andratx, Cala Figuera (Santanyí), Port d’Alcúdia, Portocristo, Colònia de Sant Jordi, Portocolom are just some of the pueblos where a festive holiday will be celebrated and where businesses will be closed for the day. The Virgen del Carmen is really another Marian devotion of the Virgin Mary, or in this case, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Virgin Mary’s role as patroness of the Carmelite Order.

The Virgin Carmen is the patron saint of seamen and mariners. In order to honour the Virgin, a nautical procession will be held. Everyone can participate in this procession with his or her own boat. The boat procession will leave the harbour with the Virgen del Carmen prominently displayed and adorned until the open sea, where the Virgin’s flower crown will be thrown into the water. Afterwards, more festive events will take place in the harbour, including the typical Ball Pagés.

Molts d’anys.

The photos were chosen from my archive. They were taken in Colònia de Sant Jordi, Ses Salines, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 16th, 2008. The time was 21:11:18 and 21:06:51, respectively.

The Maritime Procession of the Virgen del Carmen

Irreparabile Tempus

Time is relative. As Wikipedia puts it, time is used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects. In addition, the temporal position of events with respect to the transitory present is continually changing.

In the old days, let’s say, 188 years ago, in 1824, people here in Mallorca could on the whole not read nor write. Education was a privilege of the upper class then, of land owners and the landed gentry. Likewise with time keeping. Only the church and nobility needed to know what hour of the day it was at any given moment. The common man in the street would structure his year by the saints; today, July 14th, for instance, would be the day of Sant Camilo (Saint Camillus de Lellis). The hours of the day, as far as the farmer was concerned, would be governed by the position of the sun; daybreak would mean that animals wanted to be fed. Other than that, it was important to know when it was time for church mass; but for that one could rely on the church bells to be rung.

I can’t tell you more about the origin of sundials here in Mallorca except to say that they always counted the hours from sunrise to sunset, from dawn to dusk. Nighttime was for sleeping.

Irreparabile tempus. Time can not be recovered.

The photo was taken in Manacor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 13th, 2012. The time was 17:31:43

Irreparabile Tempus