Sant Antoni, the festivities return in all their splendour
Three weeks of celebrations in Capdepera, Cala Ratjada and Canyamel
After two years, the festival of Sant Antoni returns, back to normal to Capdepera. So much so, that the programme of events planned for this year in Capdepera town, Cala Ratjada and Canyamel will last for three weeks.
It’s a unique opportunity to enjoy once again a tradition that for many is the most important of the year, even more than the patron saint festivities.
It all starts after Three Kings Day when the children return to school after the Christmas holidays. This is when it’s time to draw pictures, write essays, and sing traditional songs about the saint and the devil.
This is the time that the Obreria de Sant Antoni visit the schools so that children can get to know the festival, the traditions and the masks of the demons, to become instilled with the feeling that for centuries has been passed from generation to generation, to keep centuries-old customs alive.
The festivities of Sant Antoni always start with the famous picarolada which is usually held the weekend before January 17 (Sant Antoni). The young people of the village walk through the streets ringing cowbells. According to the oldest generation of this place, this noise was made with pans and spoons in the olden days. This year the picarolada is on the 15th (at 7 p.m.).
Then, everyone goes to the Plaza de l’Orient, the square where everyone congregates to have a chocolate and coca de casques (a delicious and soft sweet cake). This is the moment that officially marks the beginning of the celebration of Sant Antoni festivities.
In the evening (8.30 p.m.) the Capdepera Theatre will host the Combat de Glosadors, who perform improvised songs typical of Mallorcan culture with risqué and picaresque lyrics.
On the eve of the festival (16th, at 2.30 p.m.) the church bells of Sant Bartomeu begin to ring to warn everyone, as the tradition dictates, that the devils will leave the cotxeria of Ca Na Vergera, carrer nou (3 p.m.), where authorities, Obreria, the devils, the music band and the clergy have enjoyed a meal prior to the celebration.The devils, accompanied by the Municipal Band, head to the church to meet Sant Antoni who this year, for the first time in history, will be represented by a girl, Zoe Cuart Caponero, 12 years old, student of First ESO in the IES Capdepera.
The expectation among the crowd is latent, mainly among the children and the young ones who gather so as not to miss the moment when the devils and Sant Antoni Abad meet and at this moment the whole town explodes with excitement.
Hundreds of young people dressed in white T-shirts and red scarves crowd the streets of Capdepera, shouting, chanting and clapping, starting the traditional corregudes pel poble, where the devils run through the streets chasing the young people.
At night (7 p.m.), the sound of two rockets marks the moment of the lighting of the foguerons (bonfires), which are all around the streets, where families, neighbours and friends will celebrate barbeques of meat, sausages, butifarrones and bacon while singing typical songs of Sant Antoni until the small hours of the morning.
The devils and the music band, as tradition dictates, begin a tour of each and every one of the town’s bonfires. The people who gather around the fires excitedly await this visit.
On the 17th, feast of Sant Antoni, is the day of the beneïdes (blessing of the animals, since this saint is the patron saint of animals) and the solemn mass.
The floats and horses are prepared (2.30 p.m.) to collect the members of the Obreria and the music band, to start the parade and the beneïdes in which the parish priest blesses all the animals that pass by in front of him.
At the end, everyone gathers in the Plaza de l’Orient for the Cant de la Colonada, the most significant chants of the libro de Arguments. Everyone who attends can enjoy a glass of wine.
The end of the festivities is marked by the solemn mass in honour of Sant Antoni (5.30 p.m.), a religious celebration in Sant Bartomeu’s church which represents the most religious part of these celebrations.
As they have said in the Obreria de Sant Antoni: “What better way to return after two years without celebrating, than to do it as tradition dictates, without moving one iota of the customs of our town to enjoy in style, with awareness and respect”.
Long live Sant Antoni! Long live Capdepera!
Cala Ratjada (January 21st and 22nd)
The weekend after Sant Antoni, Cala Ratjada is the protagonist. The coastal town and which has a higher population has its own Sant Antoni festivities.
The events are like those celebrated days before in the village.
On the 21st, at 2.30 p.m., there will be the ringing of bells, so that half an hour later the devils leave the cotxeria of Toni Miquelet (in the Plaza dels Mariners).
The music band will accompany the devils on their journey to Cala Ratjada’s parish church for the meeting.
At 7 p.m., two rockets will signal the start of the bonfires. This year it is expected that in Cala Ratjada there will be more than thirty, while in Capdepera is usually around twenty.
The devils and the band will visit the foguerons, which are the place where people celebrate the festival in the company of those closest to them.
On the 22nd, Sunday, the solemn mass (10 a.m.) will be the first of the events of the day. Just after (10.30 a.m.) there will be the concentration of the parade in the Plaza de los Pinos, with the collection of the obrers in the church with the Band of Music, to start the beneïdes and the subsequent singing of the Colonada.
Canyamel January 28th
Canyamel is the third town of the municipality that also celebrates Sant Antoni; and this year wont de any different (January 28th).
There will be threefoguerons (bonfires) and the devils will make the journey through each one of them.
One of the advantages of Canyamel over Capdepera and Cala Ratjada is that being a more secluded and less crowded celebrations, they are perfect for children to become familiar with the devils and to interact with them.
In fact, people from Capdepera and Cala Ratjada travel to Canyamel to enjoy the celebrations in a quieter way.
There will be music, both on the route of the devils and to liven up the party at night.