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Minorca, Balearic island » Entertainment » Festivals

Minorca is known for its festivals that take place during the summer months. Particularly, the festival of Saint Joan in June and the Mare de Deu de Gracia in September, are the visitors’ top choices. Horse games tend to be very popular and seem to exist in many of the festival celebrations on the island, with experienced riders taking on dangerous stunts and executing famous skills.

January


Procession of the Three Kings
This festival is celebrated for the 13th century defeat of the Moors by Alfonso III. Carried out in January, the town of Mahon holds the official celebration of the Three Kings. This is a family-oriented event, popular with small children. It has the huge ornate floats decorated with Christmas items and Cartoon characters who toss out sweets to the waiting people below, as they parade through the town.

Held on 17th January

St Antony's Day

This island of Minorca celebrates its liberation from the Muslim rule during the winter. A colourful parade takes place in the streets of Cuitadella where the statue of San Antonio is carried. In addition, a market is set up, selling all types of fruits and nuts cultivated by the Muslims.

March - April


Alaior Carnival

This carnival presents fancy dress balls, a parade of floats, competitions between groups of singers and much more. It is considered to be the most daring festival of Minorca and it revolves around the figure of Bernat Figuerola.


Matances de Bujots: Ciutadella de Minorca

This traditional festival takes place on Easter Sunday. In Ciutadella, the Matances de Bujots i.e. killing of the rag dolls is the occasion to poke fun at the politicians and make a spectacle of any situation which has come in for criticism

May


Festa de la Verge del Toro During this festival, a parade is organised in honour of the island's patron saint, near Monte Toro.

June


Saint Joan Festival

This festival is celebrated in all villages and cities of Minorca but the official feast of St Joan takes place in the town of Ciutadella, in the Plaza del Born. It marks the beginning of all the summer festivals. It is celebrated for 3 days namely the Day of the Ram, Saint Joan's Eve and Saint Joan's Day itself. This festival offers a fabulous display of horse riding, which includes jousting and jaleo (horse rearing on its hind legs). The final day of the fiesta sees the most important ceremony take place at the cathedral – a Caixer mass.


Held on 24th June

July

Virgen de Carmen Fiesta

The city of Mahon, the capital of Minorca honours the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, in order to bless them with another safe year at sea. The image of the Virgen is paraded through the streets and then to the port, where the sailors are finally sent out to sea.

August

Sant Lorenc Fiesta

This festival takes place in Alaior, one of Minorca’s smaller towns. It hosts a series of celebrations such as concerts, dances, and of course the famous horseman shows. A typical Spanish fiesta also takes place where colourful costumes and oversized heads are worn for the dance of the ‘capgrossos’.

San Luis Equine Fiesta
This festival draws thousands of inhabitants of Sant Luis onto the streets for the equine spectacle of the jaleo. The jaleo skill i.e. encourages the horses to rear up on its hind legs. The festival has plenty of events like horse races, celebrations with a parade of giants, a display of market stalls and fireworks in the evening. As this festival takes place during the summer it proves to be a popular attraction among the tourists. Many enjoy watching the traditional horse shows and join in with the celebrations which are dedicated to the town’s patron, Saint Louis IX.

September

Mare de Deu de Gracia

This festival marks the end of Minorca's busy summer and it is one of the highlighted events of the annual festival calendar, which takes place in the capital, Mahon. The beautiful black horses from the local area are paraded spectacularly throughout the streets. The festival is concentrated near the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in the city centre and horses are ridden by professional riders who show off their skills and perform elaborate acts for the crowds. After the parade of the day, people gather to the city centre for music and dancing.