Come rain or shine, the Mallorcans totally love a fiesta. Even with summer temperatures on ‘ignite’, nothing seems to keep the locals away from a party. And with pirates in Pollensa absent from their traditional, annual appearance for two years, the welcome return was explosive!
When we first came to live in Mallorca we rallied to every fiesta and celebration going. Living in the North of the island, Pollensa for us is always a firm favourite, and even today, never fails to delight with local celebrations or organised ‘happenings’.
One of my favourite events on the annual Pollensan calendar is undoubtedly ‘La Patrona’, which recently celebrated its historic and victorious battle between the Moors and Christians which lies at the heart of this charming Mediaeval town. The battle is great fun, and taken very seriously with leading roles voted for across a dedicated committee. Mind you, everyone who takes part, whether Christians or Moors alike, presents their Oscar worthy performances with outstanding gusto and verve, befitting any celebrated Mallorcan fiesta.
The first time we witnessed this lively spectacle, Other Half was swept away through the cobbled streets on a wave of marauding pirates; whilst I was lifted by the enthusiastic crowd and carried across a large central square in a worrying press of hysteria. My feet didn’t touch the ground!
The actual performance is undoubtedly dramatic and so fun. It is also frighteningly boisterous at times, and something you might not enjoy first hand if you are claustrophobic or crowd shy!
The entire day is fuelled by numerous ‘tipples’. Wooden swords and cutlasses are flailed. Sharpish looking spears are wielded. There are firearms and loud bangs. Rampaging crowds. Is it dangerous? Of course not – this is Mallorca!
I remember with passion, the second time I saw this spectacular re- enactment. Having survived the first, we were staying at a hotel located in Plaça de Sant Jordi, and were delighted to discover that our room, on a high floor, actually overlooked a town square below where the celebration traditionally begins. Leaning out of the casement window I had a perfect view, and could film everything, away from the heaving crowds, slashing swords and stomping sandals. This was an ‘observer’s’ bliss.
“I hope those muskets aren’t loaded,” I casually joked with a nod to the grinning gun bearers below. “Don’t be daft,” reassured Other Half. Then the official canon went off, the muskets went bang! and all the colourful bunting strung above my head, exploded! I have never moved so fast in my life and threw myself backwards into the room like Bruce Willis in a Die Hard movie.
I watched the rest of the ensuing battle peering cautiously through wooden shutters. We were assured that the muskets were only loaded with harmless paper and cardboard, yet they took out all the hotel’s bunting with one bang!
Being British, we are naturally aware of boring Health and Safety measures, or the total lack of them here in Mallorca. But we chose to err on the side of caution, kept our heads down, and thoroughly enjoyed the extravaganza. I seriously don’t think the locals even consider the possible dangers and consequences behind many of their boisterous acts of celebration. After all, no one has ever died! And we did survive to tell the tale!
I can’t wait for ‘La Patrona’ to be celebrated again next year. Thank goodness it doesn’t involve bulls! But that’s another fiesta. And don’t be put off attending island fiestas by Health and Safety here on the island. It does exist. I once heard a pyromaniac in a bustling crowd saying: “Be careful how you pass those matches!”
Enjoy the parties!