How time flies. It may be because there isn’t a lot else going on fiestas’ wise, as a sixth anniversary doesn’t have the weight of, say, a tenth or a fiftieth, but Sa Pobla town hall has nevertheless felt it worthy of reminding us that it is six years since Sant Antoni in Sa Pobla was declared a fiesta in the cultural interest.
It is the Council of Mallorca who do this sort of declaring, and so in 2016 it was the then vice-president for culture, Francesc Miralles, who handed over a framed certificate confirming the cultural interest to then mayor, Biel Ferragut.
What did this declaration mean and what does it mean? The purpose is to ensure that the traditions are maintained and that the fiestas are promoted by those responsible for doing so. Being in the cultural interest therefore involves more than a certificate to stick in the town hall’s council chamber (or wherever they keep it). It comes with an obligation. In this regard, it has to be viewed as a good thing. Traditions are kept alive and are not for tampering with – all things being equal in a public health situation way.
The responsibility is that of the town hall and the Obreria Sant Antoni, who are the keepers of the traditions. In Sa Pobla, given the long association with Sant Antoni, it’s hard to see how the traditions wouldn’t be maintained, but there have in the past been slight disagreements, such as between the Obreria and the demons over what the demons get up to. The Obreria, sticklers for tradition, have normally had their way.
As for the promotion of the fiestas, that can be a different matter, which nearly turned out to be the case this year. It took the deciding vote of culture councillor Toni Simó Tomàs to say no to the poster design with a naked man holding an espinagada pie over his privates.
The cultural interest declaration does perhaps explain why there is a strong current opinion in Sa Pobla regarding events for the fiesta. As mentioned previously, there are those who would happily discard the pyromusical permanently and not just for Covid reasons. It isn’t traditional. Maybe not, but it’s a heck of a good show.
While the town hall recalls the declaration of 2016, is there ever any reference to an older declaration? In 1966, when politics were very different, the fiestas were declared as being in the national touristic interest. How time flies indeed. And how sentiment also changes.