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Culture / San Antoni





San Antoni
 
One of the most traditional events in the Balearic Islands is the "Festa de Sant Antoni", 17 January each year. 
It is a feast of folk customs, which dates back to ancient balearic agricultural society. At that time, people were entrusted to St. Anthony, patron saint of domestic animals, for protection of their farm animals in field work. 
 
In many villages of Mallorca, as Sa Pobla, Arta and Sant Joan, the day of San Antonio is a public holiday; and also in other places where it is not, also is celebrated magnificently, congregating on the streets crowds of people who gather around bonfires, share dances with the Devil or go to church whith animals to be blessed (Beneïdes)  for the benevolent San Antonio. 
 
The celebration begins on the eve of the saint, with the "Revetla San Antonio." In the evening, huge bonfires are lit on the main streets and town squares, while people dance around. The fire is the real center of the celebration, symbolizing the ancient ritual of purification and renewal of life, the triumph of good over evil. Also, that night torrades (barbecues) are made and everyone shares "llonganisses, botifarrons, envelope" and other typical products as the "espinagada" typical of sa Pobla. 
 
Throughout the night, magic for many, the music sounds, xeremiers relentless, and takes place one of its greatest attractions; the traditional Dance of the Demonis, symbolizing the temptations of Satan that glorious San Antonio often had to overcome. 
 
The next day, San Antonio's Day, the festival becomes more serious. After the Mass in honor of the saint, there is the Blessing of the animals of the village people. Canaries and finches, dogs, cats, pigs and chickens, donkeys and horses, all people's pets wait anxiously in the holy place, after Mass, so San Antonio can watch over them.