Festivals and Events
In addition to its natural wealth, the Island of Minorca offers a different and less ebullient atmosphere than the other Islands. Theatre and music occupy important positions in the entertainment sphere in Menorca with a number of festivals and cycles that are organised every season in the principal towns on the Island. One obviously outstanding event is the Opera Week which is held every year in the Teatre Principal in Maó, when wellknown performers of bel canto appear in the different opera productions. On the other hand, its traditional fiestas provide a unique range of celebrations to help you really get to know the local culture.
Matances de Bujots
On Easter Sunday a curious tradition is held in Ciutadella. It is known as the Matances de Bujots, and consists in hanging up various effigies of well-known figures in the streets which then become the target for marksmen.
Bujot means 'rag doll', a pejorative word to indicate someone without any personality. In Ciutadella, the Matances de Bujots (killing of the rag dolls) is the occasion to poke fun at the politicians and make a spectacle of any situation which has come in for criticism.
There is no record as to its origin, although it most probably comes from an ancient custom where they marched a straw doll around the streets of Ciutadella, which they then burnt in the Plaça des Born. A photograph taken in 1883 which hangs in the building of the Cercle Artístic, shows this straw doll being jostled around the town.
Neither is its symbology very clear, although it seems to indicate that it was a festive way to end Lent, a period of darkness and privations.
A straw man to mock
Well before Easter Sunday different entities and associations have their bujot ready, which they guard jealously and do not show until it is hung in the street on the very day. The effigy is a straw man, with a sign wittily explaining the reason for mocking it.
The cartridges which are used are specially prepared in a factory in Maó, and are blanks which have a small amount of gunpowder and a plug. They are fired using hunting rifles with a safety mechanism, and for each straw effigy an average of three hundred shots are fired by four or five marksmen.
The starting time is 12 midday, when a deafening noise begins in Ciutadella and the shots will not finish until the straw effigy is shot down and falls to the ground in flames, which can take around ten minutes.
With this curious tradition, the people of Ciutadella finish Lent purified and safe from bad luck.
Sant Joan festivals celebrate the horse, the animal at the centre of all the patron saints day celebrations in Menorcas villages and cities.
Dia des Be
Dissabte de Sant Joan
Between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., es Fabioler (the Flautist) requests permission from the Caixer Senyor (the President) to begin the fiesta. He then makes his way through the streets to the homes of the other caixers and cavallers to summon them to the sound of flute and drum. The cavalcade starts out from the municipal hospital and heads to Plaça del Born, where Es Caragol des Born, the fiestas first caragol (laps around a predetermined site) takes place.
Afterwards, the cavalcade departs for Sant Joan de Missa, where vespers are sung later in the day. In the meantime, the Ciutadellencs engage in a mock battle with hazelnuts.
The cavalcade forms again at sunset to ride a course between Plaça de Catedral and Plaça Nova.
Dia de Sant Joan
At 7:00 a.m., the Fabioler requests authorisation to begin the fiesta; he then summons the cavalcade to form so that it is ready to execute a caragol in Santa Clara at 9:00 a.m.. Immediately afterwards, the cavalcade proceeds to Pla de Baixamar on the shores of the port, where, preceded by another caragol, the riders practice the games known as ensortilla and correr abraçats.
Ensortilla is a competition between galloping riders who vie to spear a hanging ring with their lances. The rider who hooks it wins a green cane shoot from which a silver spoon hangs. Ses Carotes (The Masks) is played by two riders who gallop besides each other along a predetermined route. The rider carrying the carota (a thin wooden shield with a grotesque face painted on it) has to ward off the blows from the lances or fists of the other rider, who tries to break the carota before the race is finished. Two riders also take part in Correr abraçats, a contest in which they gallop along a route, bring their horses side by side, join hands, embrace and kiss before finishing.
The Caixer Senyors cry of fins lany que ve, si Déu vol (Until next year, God willing) or fins un altre, si Déu vol (Until the next time, God willing) officially concludes the fiestas. A monumental fireworks display brings to a close the emblematic fiestas of Sant Joan.
Ópera de Maó
Maós Teatre Principal is the home of an annual opera season that has been satisfying Menorcas traditional love for this music since 1972.
Opera producer Giovanni Palagi, an island resident, was driving force behind the Teatre Principals construction in 1829. Opera was so popular on the island that earlier halls were too small to accommodate the public. Totally reformed and re-inaugurated in 2001, Teatre Principal combines its nineteenth-century air with the latest technology. A peerless setting for opera performances.
Carnaval de Alaior
Fancy dress balls, a parade of floats, competitions between groups of singers and the burial of Carnestoltes, or carnival, are the main events in the most daring of all Menorca's fiestas.
The Alaior carnival revolves around the figure of Bernat Figuerola. According to legend, this character was a cobbler who left the city to seek his fortune in America. Each year at Carnival, Bernat comes back and, although failing rapidly from a grave illness, he presides over all the acts of the fiestas. The afternoon of Shrove Tuesday, suspecting the inevitable, Bernat dictates a satirical will that is read in the plaza. Finally, he dies and disappears among the flames of a great bonfire that signals the beginning of Lent.
Club Escola Menorquina
Without a doubt, Minorca is an island where horses play a stellar role in its social and cultural life. The beauty of purebred Menorcan horses and their unique style of dressage is on display during these shows.
Riders dressed in traditional island style and their saddles thrill spectators on Menorcan horses trained in Menorcas own style. Tradition and show that demonstrate the islanders passion for horses.
Club Escola Menorquina - Crta. Cala Galdana, km 0.5 - Ferreries - Tel: +34 971 373 497
Ganadería Son Martorellet
This splendid spectacle is a showcase for Minorca's lovers of horses. A demonstration of the Minorcan purebred horse and the islands singular style of dressage.
Dont miss this fantastic show in which riders and horses display their skill. Beauty specimens of Minorcan purebreds trained in the islands famous style.
Ganadería Son Martorellet - Crta. Cala Galdana, km 1.5 - Ferreries - Tel: +34 609 049 493/