Sant Antoni bonfire in Majorca
Contrarily to what you may think, there are many interesting things to do in Mallorca in winter. If summer is the time of touristy hubbub, outdoor concerts and endless days spent in beach bars or clubs, in winter Mallorca’s most traditional side blooms through different celebrations based around fire. We are especially talking about the celebrations of St Antoni in Mallorca, and Sant Sebastià in the city of Palma, two dates during which the streets of the island’s towns fill with bonfires, demons, the sound of traditional zambomba drums and the well-known torrades, in which neighbours feast on meat barbecued in the streets.
Fire is one of the protagonists of the entertainment agenda in Mallorca in January. This month sees the first popular celebrations of the year, the festivities of Sant Sebastià (January 19 and 20) and those of Sant Antoni (January 16 and 17), which offer a long list of activities in Majorca. It is a pagan tradition linked to the celebration of the winter solstice and sun-worshipping, which is deeply rooted in Mediterranean countries. These festivities also have a traditional Christian element, wherein fire represents the fight of good against evil, and in the case of Sant Antoni, he is the saint in charge of protecting farmers and their animals from evil.
Whoever spends their winter holidays in Mallorca during these festivities will discover a whole experience in which fire, demons and the torrades (barbecues) take over the streets. Plus, they are a good opportunity for tasting the gastronomy that is typical of winter in Mallorca, such as grilled meat (with sobrasada, sausage, botifarrons or bacon) or loin espinagadas and eel.
The most popular festivals in Majorca on the eve of Sant Antoni are those of the towns of Sa Pobla, Manacor and Artà, although the bonfires can be found all over the island, such as in Playa de Palma. In this area, and near our Hotel Aya, a hotel on the beachfront of Palma, one can find many points prepared for barbecues in which to experience this curious festivity in first person.