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San Sebastian 2018

Palma's biggest fiesta

dragon in san sebastian fiesta

When will it all end? Christmas, New Year, Three Kings, San Antonio day, San Sebastian and Carnaval – it's a seemingly never ending procession of one fiesta after another with the definitive answer that it'll all be over on February 11th, just in time for Lent!

Tomorrow is the start of the celebrations to mark San Sebastian's day on 20th January, so an untypically Spanish, but typically fiestaesque early start to the proceedings. It all kicks off in the Plaza de Santa Eulalia (17:30, 12th January) when the fire breathing dragon 'Drac de na Coca' leads a procession of drummers around the streets to the town hall to light the inaugural bonfire along with the traditional giants and big heads who'll be dancing and parading for our entertainment.

From then on there are around 75 different activities of a sporting, cultural, musical, theatrical and pyromaniacal nature all around the city. There's a full programme available (in Catalan, but the pictures are helpful) to download if you're interested.

The two main events that would be of real interest to holiday makers are the big music night when dozens of bands and entertainers play in the main squares of Palma, and the 'correfoc' the 'fire run' when fire belching demons take to the streets.

The eve of the fiesta, the 19th January is music night in Palma with performances starting from around 20:30 ish and going on until the wee small hours. You can wrap up against the cold, but remember that there are braziers and BBQs going full belt grilling steaks, sausages and chops to keep us all warm.

Each square of plaza has a different type of music so you can choose what you fancy from;

Plaza Mayor – Folk and World music

Plaza de Cort – DJs and electronic music

Porta de Santa Catalina - Jazz

Plaza Rey Juan Carlos I – Pop, Ska, Reggae

Plaza de la Reina – Spanish, Latin music

Plaza Espana – Pop-Rock

Plaza del Olivar – Swing and dance

Plaza de Jacint Verdaguer – Alternative music

It's a fun night with much feasting and merry making which is rewarded with a day off for all the following day! On the 21st, the demons, dragons and other mythical beasts turn the streets into rivers of flame as the parade, dance and generally exhibit impish behaviour armed only with fireworks, crackers smoke and belching flame, accompanied by a raucous din of phalanxes of drummers. There are hundreds of them so you won't miss anything unless you're wearing a blindfold and industrial strength ear plugs on the route from the Paseo Mallorca, down Jaime III and finishing up at the Plaza Juan Carlos.

Note that official advice is to wear cotton clothing that covers you well and not a pair of those pyjamas with the 'don't go near fire' message stitched inside!

Have a cracking time if you're going, it's great fun.