Music, dancing, markets, food, drink, culture and sport
The Balearic Islands became an autonomous province of Spain in 1983 and since 1999 we've been celebrating the fact every year with a public holiday on 1st March. If having a day off work wasn't reason enough to be ecstatically happy (and I am) life is even better because in typically Balearic style we actually celebrate over FIVE consecutive days!
Starting on 26th February until the big day itself there are a host of activities to suit everyone with music, dancing, markets, food, drink, culture, and sport on the agenda all over the island but with the main thrust being in the capital, Palma. The idea this year is to give a feeling of oneness between the four Balearic islands, so there will be an interchange of cultural groups, musicians, and dancers from (in alphabetical order) Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.
To cement this feeling of unity, a simultaneous concert is planned on all four islands on 27th February and here in Palma it will feature Bep Marqués from Menorca, La Guineu from Formentera, Es Bastió de S’Illa from Menorca, Los Indulgentes from Ibiza, Marta Elka from Mallorca, and Cris Juanico from Menorca. Starting at 16:00 in the Paseo del Borne, it starts 4 hours before the other islands' concerts, probably because it's bigger and more important than them!
Starting on the evening of Friday 26th February, the best place to be is the whole area fronting the port from the Lonja all the way along to the Sa Feixina recreation area. From the Lonja to Es Baluard, the streets and squares will be a bustling craft market with products from all four islands for sale with stalls aplenty lining the streets. (photo courtesy caib)
Sa Feixina becomes gastro heaven for foodies as dozens of restaurants will have stalls set up for a couple of food fests – the Balearic Food Show and the Spanish regional food show – which will have a myriad choice of local and regional dishes. Also present will be lots of beer and wine courtesy of the Mallorcan artisan brewers and the local DO wine producers, whilst over in the Parque del Mar (in front of the cathedral) the islands' food trucks will be congregated to give us all a taste of hip and happening street food!
Many of the museums and public buildings will throw open their doors to visitors for free during the celebrations and if you fancy a trip on the train to somewhere else on the island, the fair to anywhere on 1st March will be precisely nothing as the rail company has waived the fares for that day!
I've merely picked out the main events here, but if you're in Palma keep your eyes open as there is a massive programme taking place around the main streets of the city centre with the caveat that some of it will be in local lingo Catalan, but well worth watching anyway. See you there?