All hell breaks loose on Mallorca on the night of St John´s Eve 23rd June to celebrate the island´s devotion to Saint John the Baptist, locally known as Sant Joan.
No fiesta in Mallorca quite compares with the pyrotechnics of Nit de Foc ` Night of Fire ´ and I advise you not to miss it. But be warned you need to cover your ears !
The origins of the celebrations are lost in the mists of time but it’s widely understood to be a Christian adoption of the pagan ritual welcoming the arrival of the summer solstice.
Traditionally the eve of Sant Joan was celebrated across Catalonia and other parts of Europe by lighting large bonfires which would be kept going throughout the night to give light and warmth to the celebration.
Each municipality on the island will put on their own fiesta including not just fireworks, bonfires, demons and dancing but a whole range of traditional displays such as correfoc (a fire run), castellers (human pyramids) and other performances but it is in Palma that the biggest celebrations take place.
This has become one of wildest fiestas on the calendar and is a real spectacle of fire and light. Once the sun sets, the demons come out onto the streets with their fire and light show dancing to the beat of drums and flutes. ‘Demons’ circulate amongst the crowd with burning torches which they swing in the air as they make their way to set the bonfires alight.
For many, the beach is the place to be. As this fiesta of Sant Joan marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, you can really make the most of enjoying a warm evening on the beach. Beaches all across the island are filled with people setting up bonfires and tucking in to picnics.
And with tradition of course comes food! At this time it is traditional to eat `Coca de Sant Joan´, a speciality cake often made as a sweet pastry of candied fruits, marzipan or cream. Other variations of the coca include savoury versions with bacon and pine nuts or even vegetables and tuna.
So grab a couple of earplugs, step back a thousand years and join in this primeval and totally absorbing spectacle ! For more information see the Mallorca Tourist Website.