Fire and Fiesta means Midsummer
June 13rd, 2022
The summer solstice is next week and is celebrated with an unforgettable fiesta in Mallorca involving fire and water. It happens on Thursday, June 23rd – the eve of Sant Joan.
Palma hosts the biggest party, including a correfoc – or fire run – in Parc de la Mar. It features groups of dimonis (devils) as well as the two popular fire-breathing dragons of Sant Jordi and Drac de Na Coca. The combination of fire and the relentless drumming of a big batucada makes this an experience that’s not for those of a nervous disposition!
The tradition of fire on the eve of Sant Joan dates from pre-Christian times when bonfires were lit to celebrate the summer solstice. The date was eventually moved from June 21st to the eve of Sant Joan. People flock to beaches all around Mallorca to gather with family or friends, often sitting on the sand around bonfires or rings of burning candles or tea lights.
Several purifying rituals are associated with this magical night, so don’t be surprised to see people jumping over the flames of a bonfire or candles – believed to offer protection for a year.
Another ritual is writing wishes on a piece of paper, then throwing it into the flames. Some people burn something old and personal to chase away bad spirits.
The traditional midnight bathe in the sea is the essential ritual – and is believed to have curative properties on this night. A cooling dip in the waters around Mallorca is definitely welcome after the heat of a midsummer day. Palma and some municipalities in Mallorca have a public holiday on Friday, 24th.