Menorca Fiesta Dates
Festivals in Menorca
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Menorca has a long and proud tradition of fiestas (festivals). The enthusiasm with which the towns celebrate their festivals rubs off on visitors who flock to them during the summer months to see or even take part in them. The most popular festivals revolve around the black thoroughbred Menorcan horses and their riders, the caixers, who are always the stars of the event.
Throughout the year the festivals on the Christian calendar are celebrated, while the annual carnival also has a big impact with dancing and parades of floats in nearly all the towns. However, it’s during the heat of the summer when things really get exciting during the festivals in honor of the "titleholder” saints of each town. At this time of year the work in the country used to take on less urgency and the locals were able to take a rest and eat more, both in terms of quality and quantity.
Most of Menorca’s festivals are Christian in origin, with touches of pagan ritual and the passion for horses introduced by the Arabs. Each town has its own fiesta, in honour of its patron saint – a week of parties, concerts and sporting events culminates in a final weekend of festivities, with horseback processions, music and dancing and a midnight firework display in the main square.
The Festival of Sant Joan (23rd – 24th June) in Ciutadella marks the beginning of all the summer festivals. Dating back to the Middle Ages this is the most colourful of all the fiestas. On the Sunday before 24thJune a young farmer announces the oncoming festival, holding the most beautiful lamb in the district on his shoulders, with its combed fleece decorated with coloured ribbons. A musician accompanies him, the fabioler, who with his tabor and small flute marks the rhythm of all the subsequent events. On the 23rd June a spectacular horseback procession takes place around the Plaça des Born, and on the 24th another procession, a Mass in the Cathedral, jousting tournaments and finally (if you can take any more!) a firework display in the Born commemorating the city’s resistance against the Turks in 1558.
Other popular festivals:
Ferreries – Sant Bartomeu (23rd– 25th August) featuring cavalcades, music and dancing.
Sant Lluís (last weekend August) in honour of the town’s patron saint.
Maó, Fornells & Ciutadella - sea going processions in the ports, where the Virgin Mary is paraded and accompanied by decorated boats.
Es Mercadal (third weekend in July) where the town pays homage to St. Martin. Just like all the other festivals, the typical jaleo, or ruckus, is the most well-attended event.
Es Castell (24th – 26thJuly) in honour of the patron saint, St James.
Fornells, Sant Antonio (27th– 28th July) - experience jaleo dancing on the waterfront.
The people of Fornells celebrate St. Anthony as a separate event to that held in Es Mercadal during the fourth weekend of July.
Mahon(Maó), Verge de Gràcia (7th – 9th September) - Mahon’s main festival which features cavalcades, street parties, donkey races and regattas in the harbours. On the nights of the 8th & 9th there are spectacular firework displays in the harbour.
Mahon (Maó) (10th September) - this day marks the end of the festival season. With the participation of the horseriders, this series of events is attended by the majority of the island’s caixers.
Alaior – San Llorenç (first weekend after 10th August) - a popular festival, where you can see caragols (snails) dancing in the street!
Es Migjorn – (23rd - 25th July) Sant Cristòfol on the fifth weekend in July if there is one or the first in August, features the ‘blessing of the vehicles’ by the parish priest.
Sant Gaietà (first weekend in August) - even though this is a smaller town it has its own festival programme.
Sant Climent (third weekend August) - again a smaller town with its own festival programme.