Minorca (or Menorca) is known for its festivals that take place during the summer months. Mainly, 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 exist in many festival celebrations on the island, with experienced riders taking on dangerous stunts and executing famous skills.
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 huge ornate floats decorated with Christmas items and Cartoon characters who toss out sweets at the crowd as they parade through the town.
St Antony's Day
On St. Antony's Day, Minorca celebrates its liberation from Muslim rulers 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.
This carnival hosts fancy dress balls, a parade of floats, competitions between singers, and much more. It is considered the most daring festival of Minorca, and it revolves around 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 the rag dolls, is the occasion to poke fun at the politicians and make a spectacle of any situation that has come in for criticism.
Festa de la Verge del Toro
During Feasta de la Verge del Toro, a parade is organised in honour of the island's patron saint, near Monte Toro.
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 summer festivals. It is celebrated for three 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). On the final day of the fiesta, the most important ceremony takes place at the cathedral – a Caixer mass.
Virgen de Carmen Fiesta
The city of Mahon honours the patron saint of fishermen and sailors to bless them with another safe year at sea. Virgen's effigy is carried through the streets and then to the port, where the statue is customarily taken on a boat. The Virgin is responsible for keeping the waters around the shore safe and clean.
Sant Lorenc Fiesta
This festival takes place in Alaior, one of Minorca's small towns. It hosts a series of celebrations such as concerts, dances, and famous horseman shows. A typical Spanish fiesta also takes place where colourful costumes and oversized heads are worn for the 'capgrossos' dance.
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 horse to rear up on its hind legs. The festival has plenty of events like horse races, parades of giants, and fireworks in the evening. Since the festival takes place during the summer, it has become a popular attraction among tourists. Many enjoy watching the traditional horse shows and join in with the celebrations dedicated to the town's patron, Saint Louis IX.
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 Mahon. Beautiful black horses from the local area are paraded spectacularly on the streets. The festival is concentrated near the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in the city centre. The horses are ridden by professional riders who show off their skills and perform elaborate acts. After the parade of the day, people gather at the city centre for music and dancing.