Saint Sebastian and Saint Anthony - Majorca’s main events in January
Blog - MSH Mallorca Senses Hotels
We couldn’t start our first post of the year without wishing all of you a Happy New Year and all the very best for 2020. At Mallorca Senses Hotels, our resolution for this year is to keep working with dedication and enthusiasm in order to offer our guests an unforgettable experience and stay on the island of Majorca, just as they imagined in their dreams.
January is a very important month in Majorca’s calendar, as it includes two of the most traditional festivities in popular culture: Saint Sebastian and Saint Anthony, two saints who share the limelight at the very beginning of every year.
Saint Sebastian is celebrated on 20 January and is the patron saint of Palma, the capital city. On the eve of that day, thousands of people take to the streets to celebrate. They gather around bonfires and spend the evening roasting meat, “sobrasada”, “butifarrones”, bacon… The City Council organises open-air events and concerts in different parts of the city, some of them with performances by very famous artists (not only national but also international).
The reason why Saint Sebastian became the patron saint of Palma is little known and probably less interesting because of that. In the Middle Ages, plague epidemics ravaged the continent and Palma was no exception despite being on an island. A particularly serious plague struck the region in the 16th century and many people died. Shortly after, a ship full of knights of the Order of Saint John of Rhodes docked at the port. It carried what they described as a relic of Saint Sebastian: his arm, to be precise. Interestingly, the number of fatalities dropped, so people associated it with the arrival of Saint Sebastian. His arm stayed in Palma forever after and is still kept in the Cathedral. Saint Sebastian became the patron saint of Palma a century later.
While Saint Sebastian is only celebrated in Palma, Saint Anthony is celebrated throughout the whole island. The towns that celebrate the 16 and 17 January the most are Sa Pobla, Muro, Arta, Manacor… Both days are full of elements of local culture: demons, traditional delicacies, religion, blessing of the animals, etc. This festivity directly takes you to Majorca’s farming past, when peasants would ask Saint Anthony to protect their working animals. You cannot miss this event if you want to know more about the heritage of the islanders and understand how they live today.
At Mallorca Senses Hotels we are very proud to welcome so many people who chose Majorca as their holiday destination and to bring them closer to our culture and traditions.
Photo: Rafa Blanc