Sant Antoni festival in Port de Pollença

The winter is a great time to be in Mallorca with cool air, warming sun and various festivities around the island offering a great look into local culture and traditions.

Today marks the day of Sant Antoni, a holiday in the honor of Saint Antonio or Sant Antoni as he’s called in Mallorquin. The holiday is very local and is only celebrated in the North East corner of Mallorca and a few other towns around the island. In Pollença county it’s a public holiday.

On the eve of Sant Antoni families and friends gather on the streets of Port de Pollença to barbecue, drink and socialize around the numerous bonfires that has been built during the day. Some more elaborate than others.

Kids dress up like devils to illustrate the devils that tempted Sant Antoni, the patrion of animals. Every now and then the strength of your nerves are being tested by powerful fire crackers exploding around you. Bag pipes are playing and people of all ages are enjoying a great night out.

On the actual day of Sant Antoni, the 17th of January, the main event in Port de Pollença is the competition of scaling an impressively tall pole.

In the morning the organizers gather to cut and prepare the tree in Formentor and then ship it back to Port de Pollença by boat. Once ashore it needs to be pulled by rope and hand across town before being erected at the main square.

Though not a far distance it takes a fair bit of time, coordination of strength and generous amounts of alcohol to get the pole to its destination. A constant bombardment of fire crackers makes sure everyone keep on their toes. It’s not for the faint hearted or tinnitus prone.

Once the pole reaches the main square and is properly mounted outside the church the quest to scale it and release the bag of confetti 22m up in the air is on.

This photo was taken after the winner had already reached the top and the party died out

Looking up at that pole it seems like a very bad idea to scale it. Would you fall there is nothing to catch you apart from other climbers below. It takes as much courage as it takes strength and skills to reach the top. This year a young teen age boy had all of the above and claimed the praise of the spectators and a full year of bragging rights.