SANT ANTONI-SINT ANTHONY FESTIVITY IN MALLORCA-BENEIDES-ANIMALS BLESSINGS-17TH JANUARY
Today 17th January is Sint ANTHONY´S day, Mallorca Private Tour Guides wants to take this opportunity to congratulate all the Antonios and Antonias.
St. Anthony´s festivity has a strong tradition in Mallorca where the famous Beneïdes are held, (animals blessings), people are taking animals to be blessed.
Also in many parts of the island’s famous “foguerons” or bonfires are held and can not be missing of course “ Dimonis “or demons.
Sint Anthony “Sant Antoni” is considered the most popular saint of the island and the island pattern.
Mallorca Private Tour Guides would like to inform you who was “SAN ANTONIO” Sint Anthony also known as SAN ANTONIO ABAD ( Sint Anthony abbot), the Hermit or the Great, here in Mallorca is also wellknown as the “ Sant Antoni des porquet” (Piglet) because he had a weakness for these animals, or “SANT ANTONI DES ASES”(donkeys).
Sint Anthony was born 251 in Egypt.
When he was very young, at the age of 19, he sold all his properties to give the money to the poorest and he went to the desert ,where he spent 40 days and was tempted several times by the devil, but St Anthony always resisted to the temptation, then he begins his life as a hermit, and lived alone. That is why he is considered the founder of the hermit movement (hermits).
He is considered the patron saint of animals who always looked after with care and dedication.
He died 356, at age 105 years.
His mortal remains rest in France, in Vienne church.
“San ANTONIO” Sint Anthony is often represented as an old man, dressed in the Sint Anthony order habit and with the TAU, a walking stick ending as T, like the Egyptian cross (as the Templars), the cross as a way of beating the devil and sometimes a bell, that bell in clear reference to Anthony’s friars who used the bell to beg.
Usually accompanied by a small pig (“porquet” or piglet), because there is a lengend which tells a jevelin with her blind javelin piglets approached him ,Sint Anthony cured them and the javeline in gratitude to Sint Anthony was always with him.
In many places (also in Mallorca) it was the tradition to raise a pig for a year and then auction it Sint Anthony´s day. The pig was wearing a small bell or jingle bell to identify him and he was fed in all the houses in which he went in. Because of this the popular mallorcan saying “és més rondaire que es porquet de Sant Antoni…”, o “ dóna més voltes que es porquet de Sant Antoni”,… (to describe a person which never stays quiet)
If anyone dared to mistreat the animal, lost all sex drive for life.
A curiosity regarding to the origin of this jingle bell or bell that pigs were carring Anthony’s Friars were raising pig herds, and in the Middle Ages was banned pigs grazing free in the streets, but the exception was made for the Anthony´s friars pigs, so to identify them, they wore a bell around the neck.
Another Sint Anthony attribution was to give protection to those affected by the ‘foc de Sant Antoni’ (St Anthony´s fire), or ergotism, what we know nowadays with then name herpes zoster (shingles zoster),a poisoning caused by eating unpurified rye bread,which caused fever, spasms and gangrene in the skin and the extremities.
Anthonian friars to cure shingles zoster (herpes zoster) called populary “Foc de Sant Antoni”(sint anthony´s fire) used the “SAIM” or lard, so their pig herds could graze freely.
“San Antoniet” hospital in Palma,which was founded by St. Anthony´s friars because of the privileges granted to them by King James I during the island conquest, the church and its cloister is preserved nowadays, and it´s located in Calle Sant Miquel in Palma. In its exterior facade can be seen a Sant Antoni, with a piglet and a fire tongue .
Sint Anthony´s day numerous celebrations are held in the island. in most of the majorcan cities and towns on the island, the famous Beneïdes (animal blessings) are performed, authentic parades where animals are blessed,
In Palma city one of popular is the one made in San Antoniet cloister ( San Miguel Street)
Another important celebration is the one in Sa Pobla, one of the oldest festivals in Europe and has been held continuously from 1365, where after the “Misa de completes” a Mass celebrated Sint Anthony´s eve , the “clamater” or crier points the beging of Sint Anthony´s festivity,and they perform the famous “dimonis” demons and “ Caparrots” (bigheads) and we can not forget its gastronomic specialties prepared for this special occasion, as his famous loin or eels “espinagada” (kind of pastry filled with loin or eels), the eels “greixonera” or rice “Poble” (arroz Poble).
Also takes this Sint Anthony´s festivity special relevance in Arta, the early bird “Sant Antoni”, as the celebration starts 16th january 9.00 am, with “Berenar Calobre” a delicious breakfast with hot chocolate and “ensaimada” (typical majorcan cake) and also made for this ocassion ,St Anthony Coca made with boiled potato and “longaniza” sausage.
In Pollensa, north of the island, there is a special celebration for Sint Anthony called “ES PI DE TERNELLES” (Ternelles pine) in which the townspeople goes to Ternelles property up on the mountains, and take down from Ternelles to Pollensa old square (plaza vieja)a huge pine tree (which should be more than 20 meters high, aprox 66 feets).
The pine trunk after removing all the branches is soaped, and the people try to climb to the top of the pine through the soaped trunk. The origins date back to the medieval games and could be related to the famous Neapolitan”cuccagna” and reaches the island in the 16th century, the one which could reach the pine top, got as a reward, a cock, at the time it was a great prize that provided food for several days.
Without a doubt the most massive Beneïdes (animal blessings) held in Mallorca, are the ones In Muro, but Muro beneides boom was in 1946 due to the recommendation of the agricultural unión, that encourages the farmers to carry their animals to be bless, to preserve the animals good health during the year and to increase animals fertility.
“Misa de Completes” (Sint Anthony´s eve Mass) and glosses (kind of typical songs) are also famous in Manacor, plus St Anthony´s eve, the people in Manacor eats bread soup, butifarrones and sobrassada (majorcan typical sausages) and bacon.
And of course, Sint Anthony´s festivity is not only celebrated in Mallorca, but also in Minorca,Sint Anthony its Minorca´s patrón and they celebrate too Minorca national day, the origin of Sint Anthony´s festivity in Minorca dates back to 1287 when Aragonian King Alfonso III landed in Minorca ,Sint Anthony´s day, to release Minorca from Muslim domination, and this day was a huge storm in Minorca, so the King Alfonso III took refuge in the King’s Island.
In Ciudadela in Minorca is held the 3 touches procession (3 toques) and a market where they sell dateless( datiles where the food that Sint Anthony ate in the desert) and oranges and also a piglet raffle is held.
Mallorca Private Tour Guides wants to invite all of you to enjoy the Majorcan winter and to discover one of the most popular and colorful festivals celebrated for ST ANTHONY¨S FESTIVITY “San Antonio.”
Let us be your guide… with our licensed tour guides you´ll discover the delicious recipies prepare don the island for St Anthony´s festivity, enjoy the “FOGUERONS” or bonfires, the “DIMONIS” demons dances, glosses and so many peculiarities that this festivity involves.
A Winter in Mallorca (title of the book written by the French writer George Sand during her stay on the island in Valldemosa 1838/1839 ) is an experience to enjoy, a time to discover another island view, wrapped into its beauty landscapes and time to enjoy excellent cuisine, its festivals, something no one should miss.
Come and join Mallorca private tour guides to discover the amazing celebrations made for Sint Anthony´s day….VIVA SAN ANTONIO and VIVA MALLORCA
Mallorca Private Tour Guides are waiting to guide you all through our island …LET YOURSELF TO BE GUIDE BY ONE OF OUR PROFESSIONAL MALLORCA PRIVATE TOUR GUIDES
Mallorca Private Tour Guides Team