The festival, Sant Joan is one of the biggest, most wildly celebrated event on Mallorca, and especially in Palma. Loud bangs sound throughout the streets, masked figures run through the park underneath the Cathedral wielding large poles emitting sparks into the crowds and people are spotted jumping over bonfires with bandanas pulled up over their mouths and noses. To anyone looking on that wasn’t aware of this festival it would look practically apocalyptic but for those who are familiar with this crazy festival they know that it is probably the most fun and exhilarating festival to participate in.
Crowds descend upon the Parc de la Mar underneath the Cathedral waiting for the hooded devils to enter through the old viaducts and light their torches. These devils then run through the park whilst onlookers choose to either duck and run away from the flying embers or jump up and down with the devils in the shower of sparks to the cacophony of drums. Small bonfires are lit throughout the park adding to the haze and colour of this electric festival.
Once the chaos of the correfoc subsides (normally around 11pm) the hordes of slightly charred and vaguely smoked participants head to the various beaches and coves around the island to bathe in the sea and make a wish to welcome the summer solstice.
Sant Joan around the island
A slightly tamer version of the festival occurs island-wide in which everyone sets up camp on the various beaches and coves – be it a picnic blanket or a full dining set – and light hundreds of candles all around. Under the flickering of this candlelight the wine and the beer flows and mountains of food are barbecued or prepared. People play music and chat amongst themselves as the children weave in and out of the groups in excitement. At 12 o´clock everyone runs down into the sea en masse to reset the previous year and make their wishes for the year ahead. It is interesting to note that tradition states that you should bathe on your back looking up with a candle in your right hand to make your wish but this seems to get forgotten in all the excitement.
It is a festival that should be experienced at least once although it is important to dress appropriately and know what you are letting yourself in for – plenty of fun, heaps of chaos and smoke-scented hair for a few days!