The entertainment and leisure available in Majorca is one of the most varied and interesting in the whole of the Mediterranean region. It is normal to discover different programmes of events such as music concerts, opera, ballet or theatre throughout the year. National and international companies visit Majorca to play concerts and recitals.
The Principal Theatre and the Auditorium of Palma are two places to keep in mind, for the wide selection of cultural activities on offer at these venues. Coinciding with the beginning of the winter season, November to April, the programme of events entitled "A Winter in Majorca" takes place, the fruit of a collaboration between the Balearic Institute of Tourism and the Promotion of Tourism of Majorca. The programme begins a varied list of cultural activities that range between such things as classical music concerts, cycle races, folklore demonstrations, trips to places of historical interest and Baroque period dramatisations. On the other hand, its traditional fiestas provide a unique range of celebrations to help you really get to know the local culture.
Christmas & New Year
On December 24th, nit de Nadal, midnight mass is the protagonist of the day with the apocalyptic Cant de la SibilĚla (a hymn sung by an angel) which dates back to the tenth century in Catalonia and brought over to the islands with Jaume┐s I conquest in 1229. This tradition has been maintained almost all over Mallorca since then and recovered in several churches on the other islands. In contrast to other areas, dinner is not a very important affair and traditionally hot chocolate with ensa´madas or coques (sponge cakes) are served at home after mass.
Christmas Day is the most important family and religious holiday of the year and brings the close family around the table with sopa farcida (broth with meat-stuffed pasta shells), turkey, chicken or roast suckling pig as the main dishes. No Christmas dinner is complete without the Christmas coques, torró wafers or squares of torró. There are other culinary traditions as well, such as salsa de Nadal (a candied broth) in Ibiza or llet d'Ametla (almond milk) in the centre of Majorca. In Menorca, Els Pastorells, the traditional Christmas pageant is performed every year. La segona festa de Nadal, Boxing Day, is traditionally a holiday with no religious significance, but of equal importance and family reunions continue with members who did not visit the day before.
Sports lovers can top off the year on December 31st by taking part in the many races held that day. At night, there is wide choice of restaurants, hotels and clubs to see the year out in or the twelve chimes of midnight can be followed in village and city squares to the accompaniment of music. In Palma, the day coincides with the Festa de l'Estendart, the commemoration of King Jaume I's entrance into the city, conquered in 1229, and acts and events take place in the morning.
Music pervades all these holidays with a special place for Mallorcan Christmas carols. In Ibiza, visitors can hear les caramelles, typical improvised folksongs, in many parishes during Midnight mass. New Year's Day is ushered in with concerts in many locations.
On January 5th, the eve of Epiphany, the cavalcade of the Three Wise Men becomes the protagonist almost all over the islands, a magical evening for children. The Wise Men arrive by land or by sea, laden with presents and the processions usually conclude with fireworks displays. Some of these cavalcades are hundreds of years old, such as Palma's, which dates back 200 years.
Sant SebastiÓ - Palma de Mallorca
20th January. The programme of activities spans almost the whole month of January and includes many events, such as its famous firework display on the saint┐s day.
The patronage of this saint is due to his protection against the plague. Sant SebastiÓ was a captain of Diocletian┐s escort who confessed to being a Christian and was condemned to die. His relic is supposed to have arrived in Palma by sea in 1523.
Although his saint┐s day is the 20th, the programme of activities spans practically the whole month of January, leading on from the Revetlla de Sant Antoni (St Anthony's Eve) on the 16th. On the night of the16th, bonfires are lit and torrades (barbecues) are held, while the demonios or devils dance through the streets.
They also have torrades on the eve of the saint┐s day, when many of the city┐s squares are transformed into stages where bands play live music, surrounded by a lively multitude of people dancing and listening to the music. Traditionally, a different style can be heard in each place, whether rock, flamenco, jazz or traditional music.
A cycling event or diada with fireworks
The following morning, on the day of Sant SebastiÓ, a solemn mass is held in the Cathedral. It is also customary to organise a cycling diada, as well as a spectacular firework display which is put on at night in the bay.
Gegants i Capgrossos The history of these figures has not been without adversity. The earliest reference to the Gegants i Capgrossos dates back to 1630 and is located in Sóller. Apparently they were acquired by the town council, where they were used to liven up the Corpus Christi processions.
A century later, in 1734, the Palma City Council adopted the same idea when they bought the first four pairs of giants, which symbolised the different continents in the world. But the suspicion and opposition of the church hierarchy led to their disappearance shortly after.
New liberal changes emerged at the beginning of the 20th Century, and Palma recovered these figures. It was at that time that the gegants T˛fol and Francinaina were created, the legendary pair of pageses or country folk who today stand guard at the entrance of Palma City Hall in the Plaša de Cort.
Actually, the ones you can see today are not the real ones, but rather a reproduction made in the early 1970s. In 1936 this pair of gegants travelled to Barcelona to take part in the Universal Exhibition, but the outbreak of the Spanish civil war prevented their return and since then, nobody knows about their whereabouts.
Festa des Vermar - Binissalem
In September, the month of the grape harvest, Binissalem celebrates its most important festival, the ┐Festa des Vermar┐, which for nine days transforms this wine growing town into a hive of activity flowing with fine wine.
This year it is celebrating it 38th edition, which makes it one of the oldest of its kind in Spain. Not in vain are we in one of the three most important wine-growing areas on the island, situated at the foot of the Sierra de Tramuntana. The municipality gives its name to the Binissalem-Mallorca Denomination of Origin, which the neighbouring regions also form part of.
The festival lasts for nine days and revolves around the fruit which has made this place famous for its wines, praised by the writer Jules Vernes already in the 19th Century. It begins with the welcoming of the grape harvesters at the Town Hall, accompanied by the ┐xeremiers┐ (traditional Majorcan musicians). There is an extensive programme of activities and the town becomes a colourful and lively place, full of visitors. Speech-making and chess contests, street bands, open-air celebrations, floats, a wine tasting contest and the International Painting Competition are some of the activities suggested.
Open-air celebrations and wine in the square
Its origins are related to Sant Gall, the symbol of fertility and so, on the last Sunday in September, the grape harvesters take the young mosto or unfermented grape juice to be blessed and to make an offering to the Virgin of Robines. In the afternoon there is an open-air celebration in the square and all those present are invited to drink wine.
This square lies at the foot of the magnificent church built of marble and veined marble, with an impressive Norman bell tower. Visitors should stroll around the town, declared a Historical-Artistic Monument in 1983, and take time to view its stately houses, especially those along the streets Calle Pere Estruch and Calle San Vicente de Pa˙l.
This festival has its typical dish, Fideus de Vermar (Grape Harvest Noodles), a very old recipe made with lamb. In the past it was customary to choose the oldest sheep of the flock, which the shepherds had taken special care of for months. This dish has a very strong flavour, although it is also very tasty. It can also be prepared with rabbit. It is delicious, even more so if accompanied by a fine wine from Binissalem.
Es Fogueró - Event dinner
An excellent alternative at night is the dinner-show at Es Fogueró, a large hall offering a wide array of enjoyable attractions.
An orchestra livens up dinner and later accompanies the show, with its dance numbers, singers, acrobats, etc.. A delightful evening of entertainment to suit all tastes.
S'Aranjassa km. 10,800 - Tel: +34 971 265 260
Cocó la Nuit - Event dinner
A gaily decorated, cosy Majorcan courtyard is the setting for a dinner show featuring drag queens. A fun-filled evening with exquisite cuisine.
Sant Miquel 79, Palma de Mallorca - Tel: +34 971 728 054
La Granja - Esporles
The Granja de Esporles has become a reference point for those who wish to get to know the old, traditional Mallorca. A visit that combines cuisine, handicrafts and folklore.
The surprisingly verdant countryside in the municipality of Esporles, close to Palma, is the setting for this old manor home, which offers visitors the chance to see tools from traditional trades, farm animals, furniture, traditional dress and more. A glimpse of the past set in beautiful gardens, which includes samples of wine and several Majorcan culinary specialities. Handicrafts and folklore shows are featured on Wednesdays and Fridays, while horse shows enliven Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Carretera d'Esporles - Esporles - Tel: +34 971 610 032
Son Amar - Event dinner
Situated in the Majorcan countryside, the Son Amar estate hides a superbly appointed theatre. Here we offer an unforgettable evening, whether you're on holiday, looking for a place to hold a special company event, or just want to surprise your partner or family.
At Son Amar we are proud to offer a complete evening of entertainment and excellent dining. Start your special evening by enjoying a selection from our totally varied menu. We have just what you are looking for, from our traditional menus to a superb selection within our "A la Carte" section of our theatre. We also cater for large groups, exclusive events and special occasions.
Forget travelling to Las Vegas to see an unforgettable show - you have it here in the heart of the Mediterranean. Loose your self in an explosion of lighting that illuminates Europe's best variety show with its amazing combination of quality and technological expertise.
Ctra. Sóller km 10.8 - Palmanyola - Tel: +34 971 617 533