Canamunt v Canavall
Way back in Palma's history, about 500 years ago in from the 16th century, two rival groups of noble families were involved in a Montague and Capuletesque feud in the city. One group held sway in the high town – Canamunt – and the other in the low town – Canavall.
Their rivalry was intense, often bloody, and on one occasion, exactly 399 years ago resulted in the murder of the Judge, Jaume Joan de Berga in calle de Sant Pere Nolasc. It is this act of violence that has inspired today's modern festival to re-enact the battles between the two areas in a giant water fight as part of the Canamunt y Canavall festival.
This year is only the third time the battle has taken place and it is becoming so popular, gaining participants at an exponential rate with 8,000 expected to take part, 5,000 more than in 2017! The battle ground will as usual be the Parque del Mar recreation area in front of the cathedral when battle commences at 16:00 on Sunday 2nd September.
Armed only with water pistols and equipped with emergency poncho body armour, the two forces will unleash around 30,000 litres of liquid ammunition at each other courtesy of the four water tankers on hand courtesy of the city's water company. Apparently, the council have also arranged for the fire brigade to be on hand, though I think the risk of anything going up in smoke is negligible!
It's a raucous, riotous affair and great fun to be in or just watch. The two groups meet up before the battle; Canamunt, the red team, in the Plaza de Sant Jeroni, and Canavall, in yellow, in the Plaza Drassanes before marching off to the Parque del Mar through the city streets. Lasting about 50 minutes the water fight leaves everyone soaking wet but extremely happy.
If you fancy going along to watch, pack your sou'wester and oil skins and if you can't make it, you might be interested in the final act of the festival – the funeral (last photo above) for the aforementioned Judge Berga in the Sant Pere Nolasc street at 20:00 on Monday 3rd September.
So, what's it to be - Come on you reds or Come on you yellows?