Fiery Fiestas in January

Fiestas January MallorcaJanuary enjoys two of the most vibrant fiestas here in Mallorca, and both are deeply rooted in folklore. They are celebrated with bonfires, street parties, firework displays and live musical events throughout all the main squares of Palma and many villages.

The first fiesta is that of San Antoni Abat, the protector of crops and livestock, although this fiesta also has links to Mallorca’s ancient fertility rites. Celebrated island-wide (except in Palma) on the 17th of January – Sa Pobla, Arta and Sant Joan have the biggest celebrations and even make San Antoni an official public holiday.

On the 16th of January, the eve of the saint’s day, bonfires are started throughout all the villages. BBQs are lit on street corners where families and neighbourhoods come together to party and to eat sobrasada, grilled sausages and many other traditional Mallorcan foods. You’ll see many demonic characters fire walking and dancing in the streets depicting the devil and the temptations that San Antoni battled with in the dessert.

As he was the patron saint of animals, on the day of San Antoni many families with their children go to their local church to have their pets and livestock blessed in a charming ceremony, asking for protection from the saint.

San Sebastian is the patron saint of Palma, so it is the city Palma that hosts the main celebrations for the fiesta on the 20th. This is a major fiesta with a week-long itinerary of musical and other events throughout the week prior to the 20th (you can find a list of events on the web page of the Ayuntamiento de Palma). San Sebastain was credited with the “miraculous” end to the black death plague that struck Mallorca in 1523-1524.

The main street party during this week of festivities is on the 19th of January, when there is live music in most of the city’s main squares – famous names to local folk groups to djs perform throughout the night. The evening starts early at 19.00hrs with a procession of giants, which process through the streets from the Plaza Cort to the Plaza Mayor. Again, bonfires form the centre-piece of the night’s revelries in each square – the Mayor starts the first bonfire and then all the fires throughout the city follow the lead. The music starts any time between 20.00 and 22.00hrs and plays on until the early hours of the following morning…

The 20th is the actual day of the fiesta where morning mass is held in the Cathederal of San Sebastian the Solemn.

Then on the 22nd of January, there is the spectacular Artiafoc fireworks display where it seems that everybody on the island crams themselves into Palma’s Paseo Maritimo to watch the show. Cascades of colour from screeching rockets and vibrating explosions illuminate the whole of the bay of Palma – a night not to be missed!

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