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Fiestas

Fiestas

caballo_jaleo

From June to September every town and village in Menorca celebrates their fiesta. Fiesta season kicks off in style in Ciutadella at the Fiestas of San Joan.
By far the most famous and the most traditional, they are renowned throughout Spain. The Maó fiestas in September bring fiesta season to a close and in between almost every weekend sees a smaller-scale celebration in one village or another.

Although religious in origin (the fiesta marks each town’s patron saint’s day) nowadays the fiestas are as good an excuse as any to stop work and party non-stop for several days. While Menorca does have a reputation for being a tranquil, quiet island, when it’s fiesta time the locals really know how to celebrate.

Businesses close, streets are cordoned off, fairground rides are set up and young and old turn out onto the streets. In addition to games, races and competitions during the day, there are often concerts at night and firework displays on the final night.

But the real focal point of any fiesta is without doubt, the jaleo.

El acto estrella es sin duda alguna el jaleo, en el que los caballos de raza menorquina son los protagonistas.

Jaleo MenorcaEvery one is welcome at the fiestas and people come from far and wide to take part in these lively street parties, particularly the jaleo, at which black Menorcan  horses are the stars of the show.

The origins of the jaleo date back to medieval times and are steeped in tradition but, once the show starts, the history and original meaning will be lost to most as the band strikes up, crowds spill out on to the streets and into the squares where makeshift bars are set up selling beer and pomada (a potent mix of local gin and lemon).

The beautiful black menorcan horses, adorned with ribbons and rosettes, and their riders dressed in black tail coats, white trousers and hats, make their way through the throngs into the main square in twos and threes, where, to shouts and cheers from the crowd, they show off their skills, dancing on their hind legs and even jumping, in time to the jaleo melody played by the brass band.

The fiesta atmosphere is infectious. It is impossible not to get caught up in it – before you know it; you too may be making your way into the midst of the masses, reaching up to touch the horses chests.

Note: The jaleo is crowded, noisy and  NOT suitable for the  very young, the very old or the infirm.

FIESTAS DE MENORCA
Ciutadella 23rd y 24th Junio Sant Joan
Es Mercadal Third weekend in July Sant Martí
Fornells Forth weekend in July Sant Antoni
Es Castell 24th, 25th and 26th July Sant Jaume
Es Migjorn Fifth weekend in July or first weekend in August Sant Cristòfol
Alaior Second weekend in August Sant Llorenç
Ferreries 23rd, 24th and 25th August Sant Bartomeu
Sant Lluís Last weekend in August Sant Lluís
Maó 6th,7th, 8th and 9th September Mare de Déu de Gràcia
Cala’n Porter Third weekend in September