Sant Sebastià 2024 in Palma: fire and music fill the streets - Garden Hotels

Sant Sebastià 2024 in Palma: fire and music fill the streets

In Mallorca, celebrations continue well into the New Year and winter doesn’t put off visitors and locals from experiencing traditions – this time around the fire. After the Christmas festivities, lights continue to adorn and brighten the streets of Palma as locals celebrate their patron saint, Sant Sebastià. Do you want to know the details of this tradition that’s unique to Palma? 

The 20th January is coming up fast, and with it the 2024 celebration of Palma’s patron saint: Sant Sebastià. The bonfires (foguerons) heat the streets of the Ciutat area, infusing everything with warmth and delicious aromas of roasted meat. On the night of 19th January, music is the star of the show. There’s a whole range of concerts in the main central areas of the Mallorcan capital. But if you really want to experience the Sant Sebastià festivities like a real llonguet (or local Palmesan), don’t miss the alternative kick-off (the sus) at the Bar España Can Vinagre. The bar is in Oms street, where hundreds of people gather in the city centre to welcome in the celebrations of the city’s patron saint, which have now been happening for 11 years. Local brotherhoods, dressed in their distinctive neckerchiefs, congregate in front of the bar to enjoy the festivities, accompanied by the music from xeremier and fabioler musicians, along with characteristic big-headed sculptures and animated cheers from everyone there enjoying the revelry. Afterwards, it’s traditional for the different brotherhoods to gather around the table to enjoy a succulent, lively meal to recharge their batteries for the rest of the celebrations. 

Do you know the legend of the Drac de na Coca? 

Going back to the more official celebrations, every year Palma hosts the fantastic correfoc (fire run) during Sant Sebastià. It features the Drac de na Coca, a huge crocodile-shaped dragon. Legend says that, in the 17th century, it roamed the city streets and hid in the sewers, terrorising its citizens. It was Captain Bartomeu Coch who killed the dragon and gave it as a trophy to his fiancée, who had it embalmed and preserved. Later, the family gave its body to the Museu d’Art Sacre de Mallorca, where you can visit it. And if you want to amuse yourself looking for the dragon, it’s hiding in the city, carved and camouflaged in one of the stone walls at number 3 Palau street. Have you found it yet? 

The festival of Sant Sebastià starts with the lighting of a large bonfire in the Plaça Major, joined by other bonfires all over the city. Sant Sebastià Petit is also celebrated with lots of activities for children, usually located in the Sa Riera park. 

Concerts with all sorts of music styles brighten up the night in the city’s main squares (Cort, Plaça Major, Plaça del Olivar, Plaça de la Reina and Plaça Joan Carles I). The festivities then continue on 20th January. 

And if Palma celebrates its patron saint in style, Part Forana’s revetla festival for Sant Antoni isn’t far behind. Manacor, Artà, Son Carrió, Muro, Sa Pobla… a few days before, on the 16th and 17th January, they light up the festival with their traditional dishes and bonfires, along with demon parades, drumming, fire runs and much more to defy the cold January nights. The festival’s roots go back to agriculture, when people used to pray to St Anthony, the patron saint of animals. In fact, the Beneïdes ceremony still honours and blesses all these animals, that receive holy water as they pass by the parish priest. 

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