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Hurrah for San Antonio

No Blue Monday as Mallorca celebrates

Whoever devised the formula for calculating when Blue Monday falls obviously never took into account when Mallorca celebrates the somewhat riotous festival of San Antonio. Absolutely nobody is feeling blue today as towns and villages all over Mallorca celebrate the fiesta of Saint Anthony Abbot on 17th January and I myself am marginally less depressed than usual on a Monday morn because tomorrow is a day off!

san antonio in arta

Now, San Antonio is the patron saint of many things but most important to the country dwelling Mallorcans of yesteryear were their animals, and the main thrust of the fiesta day is the blessing, with a sprinkling of holy water, of the animals by the local priest or bishop. The saint also spent quite a bit of time wandering around the desert being tempted by the devil, so a re-enactment of this episode plays a large part (the riotous bit I referred to earlier) of the previous day's (that's tonight 16th Jan) celebrations.

So starting today the streets of nearly all Mallorca but particularly Sa Pobla, Artà, (photos - Facebook) Pollença, Muro and Manacor will be alive with dancing demons, bonfires, BBQs with sizzling sausages, singing, dancing and lots of beer and wine. On the main day there are processions, celebrations and of course the blessing of the animals.

These days, not only will you see flocks of sheep and goats, horses and chickens lining up for holy water, but also domestic animals; dogs, cats, parrots, mice, rabbits and I've even seen terrapins in the queue! It's a great occasion, lots of fun and a flashback to olden times when farm animals played such an important part in rural life.

If you're around try to get to one of the fiestas and if you've misplaced something dear to you, you'll be interested to know that San Antonio is also the patron saint of lost things, so it may just turn up when you've said a prayer to him or better still put an announcement in the paper!