Palma de Mallorca, 30th Oct 09
Mediterranean Christmas Spirit in Mallorca 2009
Christmas in Mallorca has first and foremost been a religious festival steeped in the island’s culture and traditions which still thrives today and much of which is completely free to watch or participate in.
Christmas Shopping in Palma
– designer boutiques, high street chains and original, historic, shops selling local island products.
Palma is ideal for shopping with its mix of small specialist boutiques combined with big designer names such Carolina Herrera, Farrutx, Lotusse, Armani, Cartier, Hugo Boss, Camper and Loewe, plus the best of all the big high street names including Zara, Mango and Massimo Dutti.
Palma still has many historic shops which offer original gifts from the island such as handwoven fabrics from “Quesada” in Paseo del Born. There are several shops dating back to the 17th century such as the candle shop “Picornell” just off Plaza Santa Eulalia; the basketmaker en Ca la Seu; for home made confectionary, chocolate and glazed fruits; “Frasquet” in Calle Orfila or the delicatessen, “La Pajarita” in Calle St Nicolas which dates back to 1872.
This year the shops in Palma will be open on additional days including Sunday, December 20th and 27th. In addition, from 17.00-20.00 on selected days throughout December a special Christmas Train will be operating through the main shopping streets of Palma plus a selection of children’s activities and entertainment.
A complete shopping guide with useful maps entitled “Shopping Mallorca” is available from all tourist offices and via the internet: www.shoppingmallorca.com
A large selection of Christmas goods, including everything you need to make your own nativity scene, will go on sale from early December in Palma’s two main plazas: Plaza Major and Plaza España. In addition, live street entertainment will be taking place around the city each weekend leading up to Christmas.
The Pueblo Español is organising its own Christmas Market from December 4th-8th of December. The market will feature 38 stands offering a variety of Christmas gifts, plus children’s activities including Scalextric tracks, bouncy castles, children’s practical workshops, paintball and “Father Christmas” will be on hand to greet the children. Admission €4 per adult (to include one drink) and €2 per child to include a ticket to participate in one activity as listed above. Further information: www.nuevopuebloespanol.com
The Baleart Arts and Crafts Fair will be held from 4th-8th of December from 11.00-21.00 in the exhibition area of Palma International Airport. Information: www.firesicongressos.com
This custom, which first dates back to the 18th century in Spain, is an important tradition throughout the island; well kept on the island and in Palma the visitor can see some of the oldest and most ornate nativity scenes. A few examples include: Santa Catalina Market, The Misericordia Cultural Centre, and churches such as the “Iglesia de la Sang”, which features a crib dating back to 1480. The March Foundation Museum has an ornate crib scene of Italian origin dating back to the 17th century and in Palma Town Hall the nativity scene reflects island life and all the figures are handmade.
Free Guided Tour of Nativity Cribs in Palma
A series of guided cultural tours will be available throughout December exploring the roots and history of Mallorcan Christmas traditions and specifically the nativity cribs. The tour takes in some of the most famous cribs in Palma and various works of art in general. The tour is free and for information on when it will be given in English please ask at any of the Palma tourist offices or go to: www.itineraris.org.
Music & Culture
2nd December – Barbara Hendricks performs in Palma’s Teatro Principal. Information: www.teatreprincialdepalma.com
9th December – the final concert of this year’s Jazz Voyeur festival will finish on a Christmas theme with a performance of the Georgia Mass Gospel Choir perform in Palma’s Auditorium. Further information: www.jazzvoyeur.com.
12th December - The Messiah performed in Palma’s Auditorium at 20.00. Information and tickets: www.auditoriumpalma.es
19th December – A Christmas Concert performed by the Balearic Symphony Orchestra in the Saint Francisco Basilica at 20.30 and in Palma’s Music Conservatory on December 20th at 19.30. Information: www.simfonicadebalears.com)
20th December – the final of the first Gospel choir competition will be held in the Teatro Principal, Palma, at 19.00. www.teatreprincipaldepalma.com
21st December – Christmas Choirs Concert, Teatro Principal at 21.00. Admission free: www.teatreprincipaldepalma.com
24th December – Palma Cathedral at 23.00 the celebrated Christmas Mass. www.catedraldemallorca.org.
For more information on concerts being held on Mallorca please go to: www.artescenic.com
On Mallorca Christmas Eve is very important and families will celebrate with elaborate meals. The family will then go to Midnight Mass and afterwards drink hot chocolate and eat “ensaimadas” (Mallorca’s own spiral shaped sweet pastries dusted with icing sugar). On Christmas Day the traditional “Christmas Soup” is served – a turkey broth with pasta, liver and boiled eggs followed by turkey or “lechona” (suckling pig). The meal will be rounded off with a selection of “turrón” which comes in a whole range of flavours and shapes but traditionally comprises of thin layers of almond paste between rice paper.
New Year’s Eve
Palma commemorates the anniversary of the Christian conquest of the city by King Jaume 1st on December 31st in 1229. In the morning there is a formal ceremony at Palma’s Town Hall followed by a religious ceremony in Palma Cathedral, and traditional Mallorcan dancing and music.
At night, the locals will take to the streets to greet the New Year all over the island. Traditionally bands play in front of the local town hall and the bells ring out the Old Year whilst revellers open bottles of “cava” and eat 12 grapes in time with the chimes up to midnight. Fireworks can be seen all over the island but the most spectacular fireworks display can be seen from Palma’s Paseo Maritimo running between the sea and the city walls.
Local festivals at this time, which are celebrated throughout the island, are extremely popular with local visitors. The main ones include: The Three Kings (January 5th) elaborate parades of the Three Kings are held throughout the island, sweets and presents are thrown to the children in the crowds; Saint Anthony – the patron saint of animals – people bring their animals to be blessed to the local church (17th January); Saint Sebastian (January 20th) is the patron saint of Palma and all the plazas feature different types of live music on the 19th when bonfires and barbecue grills are lit around the city so that revellers can grill their own supper as they enjoy the music.
For further information, please contact:
Mallorca Tourist Board, Dominique Carroll / Anna Skidmore,
Tel:(+34) 971 725 396 Fax: (+34) 971 713 540
Further Press Releases:
GOOD NEWS FOR MALLORCA IN 2012 (09th Feb 12)
THREE KINGS - THE FESTIVITIES CONTINUE! (05th Jan 12)
FESTIVE SWEETS CAN BE HEAVENLY (05th Jan 12)