The first signs of human occupation in Mallorca date back to 7200 B.C., just before some groups of cave-dwelling hunters and foragers settled there.
Since then, many peoples and civilisations have lived on our island, from the Talayotians to the Romans and the Byzantines, through to the Arabs and, finally, the Christian "conquest".
This rich historical background means that Mallorca has retained an important heritage and cultural legacy, with customs and traditions that have survived to the present day.
Mallorcan traditions you should get to know during your stay on the island
The song of the Sibil·la
The Song of the Sibil-la is one of the most genuinely authentic Mallorcan traditions, and also one of the most striking due to its "apocalyptic" nature.
It's celebrated during the Midnight Mass, on Christmas Eve and, according to some documentary sources, it’s a rite imported during the conquest of King James I.
In fact, even though the oldest chants of the Sibil-la are from Alghero (Sardinia) and Mallorca (both in Palma Cathedral and in other churches on the island), this tradition is being revived in other parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy.
The Sibil-la is a type of mystical chant in which a sword-carrying child dressed in a tunic recites a medieval song in Latin to announce the coming of the Last Judgement.
A few days later (on December 31st), Palma de Mallorca celebrates the Festa de l'Estendard, which commemorates the arrival of King James I in the city in 1229.
The pet blessing ceremony and the "Drac de Na Coca"
The celebrations in honour of Sant Antoni (17th January) and Sant Sebastià (19th January) take place all over the island, and they kick off the year's popular festivals in Mallorca.
The bonfires or "foguerons" of Sant Antoni in the towns of Pollensa, Manacor, Sa Pobla and Artà are particularly noteworthy, with scenes depicting the saint and the devil accompanied by music and fireworks.
The popular pet blessing ceremony, known as the "beneïdes", also takes place during the celebration of Sant Antoni.
With respect to Mallorcan traditions for Sant Sebastià, a particularly noteworthy tradition is when the "Drac de Na Coca" appears. This is a fibre glass sculpture built by a local craftsman, and it commemorates a mysterious crocodile that supposedly appeared during the "Revetlla de Sant Sebastià". It's a night to get together to enjoy a "torrada" with friends.
Grape throwing to celebrate the end of the grape harvest
Some Mallorcan traditions are great fun, and grape throwing is a good example of this!
As we have already mentioned in our blog, Mallorca is a land of wine.
Because of that, a fortnight after the grape harvest is over, we celebrate the Fiesta de la Vendimia (grape harvest), with food, drink, wine tasting and popular games.
And the wackiest bit of all? Grape throwing!
So, if you're on the island at this time, make sure you always carry a change of clothes in your rucksack!
The dance of the cossiers, the oldest dance in Mallorca
When pagan rites are transformed into dance, we can get traditions of great beauty and meaning, such as the dance of the cossiers of Mallorca.
This dance may have its origins in the first Catalan settlers on the island, as it's similar to other dances performed on the Mediterranean during the Corpus Christi celebrations.
The dancers are usually six cossiers and a Dame, as well as other characters, such as the Devil.
The group dances to the rhythm of the music, normally arranged in a circle, with the female character in the centre.
If you'd like to see this curious Mallorcan tradition, we recommend you visit the towns of Algaida or Alaró.
Eating Mallorcan "panades" at Easter
Every cook has their own way of making the famous "panades mallorquinas", a type of round pasty, typical of Easter.
The recipe is simple and they're usually made by families, although many patisseries and bakeries sell them all year round.
The ones made with pork or lamb, peas and sobrassada are particularly popular.
Are you thinking of taking a trip to Mallorca? Book your stay with Hotels VIVA and, when you have the dates, look to see if they coincide with any of these Mallorcan traditions.