Perfectly situated on a sheltered bay on the north coast of Menorca, Fornells may seem like a quiet fishing village. But, every summer, this small yet vibrant community comes together to celebrate the town’s patron saint in a lively fiesta. For newcomers to this island, renting a villa in Fornells is the best way to make sure you don’t miss any of the fun. |
Sant Antoni Abat
Born in the third century AD, Sant Antoni Abat (more commonly known to English speakers as Saint Anthony Abbot, or Saint Anthony the Great) was an Egyptian hermit, considered by many today to be the father of Christian monasticism. The patron saint of Menorca as well as of Fornells, Saint Anthony is an inspirational figure across this tiny island.
Summer in Menorca is high celebration season. Every town on the island will have a special day to honour its patron saint, and Fornells is no exception. Fiesta de Sant Antoni Abat takes place on the fourth weekend of July, so dates do vary from year to year. However, one thing is certain: holidaymakers renting a villa in Fornells at that time will be in for a treat.
The events and schedule of Fiesta de Sant Antoni Abat remain constant from year to year, in keeping with Fornells tradition. On Saturday afternoon, the town bells ring to announce the beginning of the festivities. A marching band parades through the streets, accompanied by the gegants i capgrossos, or ‘giants and big heads’ – enormous papier-mâché figures that depict town archetypes or historical figures.
Next, the fabioler, or whistle blower, goes to the town hall to ask the mayor for permission to officially begin the festival. Now begins the centrepiece of Fiesta de Sant Antoni, and indeed of any Menorcan festival: the cavalcade (la Qualcada) of black thoroughbred horses. The pride of the island, these majestic Menorcan horses and their riders, the caixers, parade through the town to the delight of festival-goers.
After an important religious ceremony at the town church to honour the patron saint, the caixers and their horses engage in a ritual much beloved by Menorca locals and visitors alike – the jaleo. In jaleo, the caixer brings his horse onto its hind legs, and walks it through the crowds of revellers. Daring individuals dart between the legs, hoping to touch the horse’s heart for good luck as the horse ‘dances’ above them. A true Menorcan tradition, the jaleo has to be seen to be believed.
Attending the Fiesta
If you’re a holidaymaker leasing a villa in Fornells, you’ll have a front-row seat to the festivities. Along with the formal ceremonies, the fiesta also features concerts, markets, fireworks and a fairground. With a luxurious holiday rental on this beautiful island, you can relax or fiesta with the locals from the comfort of your very own villa. In Fornells, you’re sure to have a Menorcan experience you’ll never forget.
Brenda Jaaback, Managing Director of Bartle Holidays, is a renowned Menorca expert. From its history to its people and from its wildlife to its cuisine - no secret of the island remains hidden to her. Personally selecting the finest properties for her clients, Brenda is the go-to person for anyone planning a relaxing holiday to Menorca.
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