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Palma's BIG fiesta

San Sebastian 2017

And they're off! Today's the day the big shindig to celebrate Palma's patron saint's day starts and as usual it's the biggest fiesta in all Mallorca, all year. San Sebastian had never actually been to Mallorca until years after his death when a bone from his arm – in the first division of religious relics and having miraculous powers – was brought to Palma and stopped a plague epidemic in its tracks.

Hundreds of years ago this act was considered good enough to make San Sebastian the patron saint of the city and hold a big celebration each 20th January. Over the years the fiesta has grown and grown and now lasts for days and days, and this year includes no less than 80 activities for one and all.

As if this wasn't enough, the feast of San Antonio on 17th January, now falls within the celebratory period, and due to the large amount of Chinese immigrants now living in Mallorca, so does (albeit tenuously) the start of the year of the cock on 28th January.

mallorcan dragon

So, the big fiesta opening is tonight Friday 13th January when a big parade starts from the town hall square with traditional Mallorcan 'performers' like a fire breathing dragon, (photo you tube) big heads, giants, pipers, dancers, drummers and new for this year a Chinese dragon and lion! Ending up in the Plaza Mayor, there'll be entertainment for kids and a live group, Cap Pela.

I've selected some of the best bits of the Fiesta which take place from Saturday;

Saturday 14, 20:00 Plaza de las Tortugas – Pop 40 concert

Sunday 15, 20:00 Plaza Mayor – Musical talent competition final

Tuesday 17, 10:00 Cathedral – blessing of the animals for San Antonio

Friday 20, 12:00 Santa Eulalia – Cycling day fun ride to Son Moix

Saturday 21, 22:00 Paseo Mallorca – Correfoc with 250 fire belching demons

Sunday 22, 09:30, Plaza Mayor – Palma Fotogràfica XXXI

Sunday 22, 09:30, Pere Garau – parade of the dragons

However, the biggest party takes place on the 19th, the eve of the saint's day when Palma's big plazas host around 40 bands and artists playing live, each square featuring a different type of music. With lots of bars and pop up bars open, barbecues sizzling and smoking and the streets crowded with people, the party goes on into the wee small hours!

Here's who's on where;

Plaza Major

(folk, ball de bot and música en catalán)

20.10h: Dragon, big heads and giants

20.30h: Al-Mayurqa

21.45h: Música Nostra

23h: Oques Grasses

0.45h: Boc

Plaza de Joan Carles I

(rock, indie and heavy)

21h: Salvatge Cor

22h: Dinamo

23.15h: Efecto Pasillo

1h: Obús

Plaza de Espanya

(pop and electrónica)

21h: Alambres

21.45h: Búhos

23h: Please

0h: Smoking Stones (photo)

1.30h: DJ Juan Campos + Txema Sánchez

smoking stones

Plaza de la Reina

(flamenco, rumba and sevillanas)

21h: Tom Trovador

22.15h: Rumba Katxai

23.30h: José el Francés

0.45h: Camela

Plaza de Santa Eulàlia

(electrónica)

21.30h: DJ Óscar Romero

23h: Pere Janer

0.30h: DJ Paula Serra

Calle Jacint Verdaguer, junto al Pont des Tren

(blues, pop and pop-rock)

21h: Hattori Hanzo Surf Experience

22.15h: La Barraca Sound System

23.30h: Siniestro Total

1.15h: 2 pájaros a tiro (tributo a Serrat y Sabina)

Plaza Porta de Santa Catalina (jazz, swing, soul and reggae)

21.30h: Monkey Doo

22.45h: Soul Café

0h: Jazz Fingers

1.15h: Maria Rosselló i els botifanfarrons

Plaza del Olivar

(world music)

22h: Xanguito

23.15h: Marga Rotger

0.30h: Kepa Junkera & Sorginak

Phew! There's actually a whole lot more happening the whole time, and you can see all the details by clicking on the link to the official programme which is all in Catalan but the dates, times and photos are easy enough to understand.

Have a great time if you're out and about.