Menorca Fiesta of Sant Joan
The long awaited start to the fiesta season on Menorca has arrived. The fiesta of Sant Joan celebrates the birth of the patron saint of the town of Ciutadella. This is John the Baptist and is celebrated on 24 June every year. The people of Menorca has a deep affinity with the breed of horse, native to this island. The horses are the main attraction to the fiesta and you will see them at every fiesta. The fiestas are across the island over the summer and each one celebrates the patron saint of that town or village.
Ciutadella is the old capital, and in my opinion the most beautiful town across the Balearic islands. When the British occupied the island in the eighteenth century, they made Mahon the new capital, as it had a naval strategic advantage with it’s deep, inland port. The ancient narrow streets of Ciutadella make it very photogenic for any photographer wishing to capture some truly powerful photographs. The relationship between the horses and the revellers make the story.
The caballeros can mae the horses stand on their rear legs. Usually, the young and very drunk men get close to the horse to try and touch the Sant Joan cross or heart of the horse for good luck. This is the tradition but it probably has more to do with adrenalin than anything else. The riders gather on 23 June in the town and make their way to the small church of Sant Joan around 4kms out of the town. The riders attend mass and then make their way back to the revellers who have been drinking for much of the day.
The jaleo begins again and lasts into the small hours. On the 24 June the day begins with permission being granted for the fiesta at around 10am. The horses and riders gather again in the Placa des Borns and make their way down to the port for the jousting tournament. The riders are given a jousting pole and one by one, gallop down the course to see if they can hit the target. If successful, the place erupts so expect a shower of pomada to soak you through.
The Menorca fiesta of Sant Joan is always regarded as one of the best in Spain. This fiesta we can highly recommend.
“John Britton is a photographer whose work has themed around celebration, ritual and matrimony.” You can see more of his work from Mallorca and farther afield by clicking the following link.
You can read more about the Sant Joan fiesta by reading the following article from the link supplied.