Pollenca, Mallorca

Cathy Chapman on 09 November 2016

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Oh my! If ever there was a spectacle to see, it's this one, and yes we've now seen it eight times! Think Pollenca, Majorca and you will probably think of the better-known (and touristier) port area, totally beautiful in its own right. But venture inland and uphill for about 4km and you find old Pollenca town itself, an amazingly serene working town, typically Mallorcan in character. Its main square, Placa Major is dominated by the magnificent Catholic Church, Esglèsia de Nostra Senyora dels Àngels, and surrounded by plentiful cafes and tapas bars. So far, so good.

However, if you go, and you must, try the first week in August for a spectacle never to be forgotten! This is the time for the La Patrona! Picture a re-enactment of when the Moors of yore invaded Pollenca (as they did quite regularly) and the time when the indigenous Christians fought back. They'd had enough and boy, what a battle!

If you're lucky (or unlucky) enough to be in a hotel overlooking the main square, you will be woken up at 5am (yes, 5 AM) with the threatening and quite mournful sound of a conch shell, which was a call-to-arms for the menfolk in the village to get prepared to defend and fight the incoming invading Moors. The sound of the conch shell is really quite surreal. Then all goes quiet for a few hours. The townsfolk who represent the Christians are always dressed in white on this day, to symbolize the nightwear their ancestors were wearing at the time of the early-morning invasion by the pirates (the Moors). Quite a lot of visitors, like ourselves, also wear white to feel a part of this amazing Festival.

Throughout the day, there are taunts between the Moors and the Christians but the main battle doesn't commence until about 6pm in the evening, whereby both sides have eaten their fill, and drank quite copious amounts of 'fuel'. You can literally smell the testosterone, you really can, as the two sides taunt each other from opposing ends of the main square. The pirates, think Johnny Depp on steroids, with their beautiful colourful silken outfits, and war paint to match, start making themselves known in no uncertain terms. After much cannon fire, much insult-hurling and spent gunpowder, the two sides start to clash (all completely choreographed of course); the townswomen and children to one side, as well as the tourists (no health and safety here by the way, and so much the better for it too!) the authenticity of the re-enactment is palpable. As battle commences, with sabres and pitch-forks aloft, the two sides are on a collision course in these tiny streets of this medieval town.

The battle rages on with much pushing, shoving, gunfire and basic mayhem fuelled by their afternoon liquid lunches; it's totally fantastic! Eventually they make their way to the local football field just over the Roman Bridge to complete their shenanigans and 'make-up' and meet with their families. I do no justice whatsoever to this amazing festival, but feel free to Google away. I 100% recommend it as a 'have-to' event, most definitely leaving the port area and beaches for; you will not regret it.

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