Sant Sebastià 2024: Palma dresses up to celebrate its patron saint’s feast day - Nivia Born Boutique Hotel
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Sant Sebastià 2024: Palma dresses up to celebrate its patron saint’s feast day

If there’s one standout winter event in Palma’s calendar, it’s undoubtedly Sant Sebastià, celebrating the patron saint of the city. During the second half of January — coinciding with the coldest days of the year — Palma stages its grand street festival. This holiday —  the most special one of all for the people of Palma — is unfailingly marked by bonfires, giants, music, dragons, street-level fireworks and parties that last into the small hours in the main squares and streets of the city. Furthermore, you’ll find a nod to Sant Sebastià in each neighbourhood, with communal barbecues where neighbours of all generations gather to share various classics of the local cuisine such as blood-stained or soft, cured sausages and longaniza — always accompanied by some good pa moreno mallorquí, the traditional Mallorcan brown bread. 

The Revetla de Sant Sebastià (19th January) is the most eagerly awaited day of all. Throughout this frequently rain-threatened night, excitement and enjoyment blend seamlessly, and the lively crowd transforms the chill into a unique experience. In Plaça Major, Plaça de Cort, Plaça de l’Olivar, Plaça Rei Joan Carles I and Plaça de la Reina, large stages are set up for musical performances that will please all tastes. This year Hombres G, Juan Magán and Dorian are some of the guest artists. As an additional new feature, an evening with a DJ is scheduled for 20th January in Plaça de Cort, with the bands Tardes en el Café and Valnou performing in Plaça Major. 

However, Sant Sebastià extends beyond two days and includes many other events that illustrate the cultural identity of the people of Palma. On 13th January the festivities are officially inaugurated with the Dance of the Gegants i Capgrossos (Giants and Big-Heads) of the Hall of Plaça de Cort, the beating of drums on the balconies of the Town Hall, the glosa singers and the Pregonet (roughly translated, ‘Proclamation’) of the Dragon of Na Coca and the Flame of the Festival. The Dragon of Na Coca sets off accompanied by a batucada dancing parade from Plaça de Cort to Plaça Major, lighting the flame of Sant Sebastià. This beast evokes an incident that occurred in the capital in the 17th century when a crocodile ran loose in the streets, causing panic among the residents before Captain Bartomeu Coch put an end to it. Today it can be seen embalmed in the Museu d’Art Sacre de Mallorca. 

Families and children alike enjoy the traditional Sant Sebastià Petit, which this year takes place on 14th January in the Parc de la Riera. With musical shows, games of skill, storytelling, mini-discos, gymkhanas, popular games, circus days and more, there’s a wide range of facilities for even the youngest members of the family. 

There will be a succession of activities in the island’s capital to mark Sant Sebastià, lasting until the 28th January. Guided tours of the historic Palma Town Hall building, the Drama Tournament, the Meeting of the Giants of Palma, the Palma Photographic Competition and the Ciutat de Palma Sling Shot Trophy are just some of the choices on offer — check the complete programme and enjoy the enthusiasm and fervour with which the locals experience the festivities of Sant Sebastià.  

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