Balearic Islands — Festivals and Events
Fiestas and other cultural events in Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera run throughput the year, although most are concentrated in the warm summer months. Most of the local celebrations are in honor of the patron saints of the towns and villages where they lived, and all include parades, fireworks, street parties, and a great deal of eating and drinking. Two of the most popular are Palma de Mallorca’s Festa de l’Angel on Palm Sunday, which introduces Semana Santa (Holy Week), and the Carnival festivals which take place all over the islands just before Lent.
As in all Roman Catholic cultures, the festival of Carnival, usually held late in February, represents a last chance to celebrate before the rigors of traditional Lent begin. Parties, riotous street events, huge costumed processions, fireworks displays, and general mayhem continue late into the night, with great fun had by all across the islands.
Festa de l’Angel
Celebrated since 1407 on the Sunday after Easter, this introduction to Holy Week takes place across the islands, with the most famous including a pilgrimage to Mallorca’s Bellver Castle. Over 20,000 people make the trip, and street entertainments, parades, and other activities take place all day.
At its best on Mallorca, the Holy Week religious celebration is the largest on the island and features nightly colorful processions, street entertainments, and the iconic Maundy Thursday processions with their representations of Christ Crucified. Easter Sunday is a joyful day in the streets and in homes.
Sant Joan Festival
Sant Joan (St John the Baptist) is honored annually on June 24 in Ciutadella with fireworks displays, processions, and the unique costumed medieval maneuvers of local riders and their horses.
May is the month for Ibiza’s old town, Dalt Vila, to hold its medieval fair commemorating its acceptance in 1999 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hundreds of market stalls line its alleyways, performers take to the streets, jousting and falconry contests are held, and concerts draw huge audiences.
Pollenca Music Festival
This classical music event has been held in Santo Domingo’s 17th century cloisters since 1962, and is now a firm favorite with locals and visitors alike. Many famous international musicians arrive for the occasion, and fans plan their July and August holidays around popular concerts and recitals.
Menorcan Jazz Fest
Staged during April and May, the Menorcan Jazz Fest draws jazz and blues greats to the island for events held in Ciutadella and Mahon. The six-week program is a major tourist attraction.
Noche Buena and New Year
Christmas is a beautiful time on the Balearics Islands, and the locals welcome visitors with open arms and hearts to midnight masses, nativity plays, and music events. New Year celebrations here are lively, to say the least.