5 tips on ways to enjoy the fiestas in Menorca
Summer brings Menorca’s popular fiestas. Horses and music, gastronomy and pomada, a mix of Menorcan gin and lemonade, all add to the lively buzz in the streets of villages and towns. Both residents and visitors join in on all the fun and enjoy the island traditions and customs. Are you up on the key points of the fiestas in Menorca?
From Bini Hotels, we invite you to visit ours and see how the Menorcan horses rear up on their hind legs to the sound of music. They are the real stars of the festivities.
The horses “dance” in Menorca
The fabioler, riding an ass, plays a drum and the famous fabiol, a little flute to call together the colcada which are the riders and their horses. The festivities begin. Everyone heads to the main square of the village or town to take part in the Jaleo where, to the merry rhythm of a jota from Aragon, the riders lead their horses through the crowds and caper about.
Menorca boasts its own breed of horses. They are big, powerful and calm, with the darkest black coats. They are lovingly prepared for the fiestas, with their tails braided and exquisite saddle blankets embroidered with colours laid over their rumps. They are used to moving among the crowd, who encourage the bot, so that they rear up on their hind legs.
Traditions and customs
The riders are dressed in traditional suits and wear hats (a guindola). They are highly skilled, maintaining their seat and control of the horse as it rears up and guiding them through the streets with three rounds of the square. On the last round they receive a green reed and a silver spoon as a memento of their role in the fiesta.
Reeds form a part of the island’s culture and are all over the wetlands in Menorca; they have a very long lifespan. It is customary to give anyone who turns 100 one because they symbolise “long life”.
Gastronomy is also celebrated in Menorca during the fiestas
The fiesta days are a customary time for friends and acquaintances to share happy times around the table. The doors of homes are opened wide to welcome guests with the most authentic Menorcan gastronomy for everyone to enjoy: dishes of stuffed aubergine and courgette baked in the oven, octopus and onion stew and, of course, Menorca’s typical cured meats: sobrasada, camot or carn-i-xulla.
All accompanied with a special and refreshing drink, pomada, a mix of Menorcan gin and lemonade to which some add a few sprigs of mint.
Then there are the music concerts after the jaleo, the artisan markets and all sorts of cultural activities to complement the fiesta.
5 tips so that you enjoy safely
1.- As the fiestas are held in the summer it will be hot so be sure to wear cool and light clothing and a hat. Don’t forget sensible shoes. Sandals or heels should bot be worn to move comfortably in and around the people and horses.
2.- If you are with your family, keep to the calmer areas where the horses go past. Children will love watching them but better at a distance from the squares. These are not suitable places for pushchairs or babies.
3.- If you are all adults, join the crowd in the square to celebrate the jaleo, follow the horses as they spin, ask them for a bot and drink in the pure emotion and atmosphere. This is one priceless memory of Menorca.
4.- It’s inevitable that’s you’ll probably want a “selfie” with some of the horses to send your friends. Try taking them without bothering as the riders and horses go around the village or town streets before entering the square.
5.- Respect the horses at all times. They are the stars of the show, and we Menorcans are very proud of the magnificent role these animals play in our fiestas.
If you’ve decided to go to any of the local fiestas in Menorca, remember that there is a Jaleo-bus, a public transport bus that really helps to cut down on traffic and parking in the towns. It’s a convenient and safe solution, leaving you right at the fiesta and getting you home when you’ve had enough.
If you still haven’t seen our noble Menorcan breed of horse “dance”, now’s your chance. You’ll love the music and the buzz. Have you decided which one to go to you yet?