CELEBRATE SANT ANTONI
Photo by freshandeazy.com / Dimonis Sineu
JAN 9th, 2023
The Three Kings have been and gone but one of Mallorca’s most popular, traditional fiestas is still to come: the celebration of Sant Antoni, the patron saint of animals.
Surprisingly, Sant Antoni wasn’t ‘mallorquin’, but a monk in Egypt who was visited in the desert by the Devil disguised as a woman. Sant Antoni avoided the obvious temptation by distracting himself with a barefoot walk across the embers of a fire.
Fire and devils – or ‘dimonis’, as they are known here – play a key part in the celebrations on the eve of Sant Antoni’s day. The night of January 16th, people in towns and villages across Mallorca light bonfires and have fun singing risqué Sant Antoni songs and cooking food over the bonfires, as ‘dimonis’ dance around them. It’s a night you’ll hear the traditional friction drum known as a ‘ximbomba’ – a simple but essential instrument played to celebrate Sant Antoni.
The eve of Sant Antoni is celebrated in different ways across the island. In Artà, the celebrations last all day and start with a special breakfast of hot chocolate, Sant Antoni’s coca, and ensaïmada. In Sa Pobla, eel and rice dishes are popular. And history is being made this year in Manacor, with a female ‘dimoni’ dancing for the first time.
On January 17th, Sant Antoni’s day itself, animal blessing ceremonies are held across the island and people take their pets and farm animals to the local priest. In Manacor, traditionally dressed people parade with their animals through the streets, creating a colourful and Instagram-worthy spectacle.
As they say here in Mallorca, ‘Visca Sant Antoni’ – long live Sant Antoni.
Note: Some places may celebrate Sant Antoni over the weekend of 14th/15th.