By Shirley Roberts
Written by Shirley Roberts in 2023
We are often asked for the dates and outline of all the fiestas in Soller. Some are planning their holidays around the dates and others want to avoid them. The Soller Valley fiestas on this list are local and will happen whether there are visitors in Town or not. They are significant dates, and some are in alignment with the Catholic Church Calendar.
Other events will augment this list which come from other ideas, not necessarily considered ‘cultural’. They are announced as they happen…
The fiestas are worked on by the Town Hall and a host of volunteers. They are well used to this work which they perform with dedication each year. However, this is not a Disney production with every eventuality catered for. Sometimes the weather or another disaster changes the date or the venue of an occasion. This means we cannot guarantee and are not liable for any changes to the events plan. We give all information in good faith…
The arrival of the Three Kings on January 5th and the local ‘Christmas Day on 6th January
The biggest night of the year for local children – 5th January.
The Three Kings arrive by boat to the Port of Soller and are met by their Pages who deliver sweets to the waiting crowds of children. They sit of on their thrones at the quayside and children have a chat with them and tell them what they would like as a gift. This takes some considerable time! The Kings, Pages, and crowd then process to the Church in the Port of Soller where the Kings are welcomed. The Kings are then taken by a specially decorated Tram up to the City of Soller where they get on their horses and lead the parade around the square. They are joined by floats from all the local schools with hundreds of excited children taking part and enjoying this special night of the year. Soller square is packed with everyone coming to view the parade and be part of this most important date.
The square empties with children being taken home to put the shoe on the door step. They are expecting a visit there from the King on his camel and they have to leave a little something for the camel to eat and drink. This date is the meaning of Christmas for our local friends and the one they all work towards.
6th January is ‘Christmas Day’ here in the Soller Valley with excited children waking up to find their presents and playing all day. Family gatherings are very important together with the traditional mountain and seaside family walks.
Three special dates packed into a two-week period is what this season brings in our world. The whole season is infused with religious observance, family tradition and history. All around us new people are bringing their own traditions as the Soller melting pot contains many nationalities. The fundamentals stay the same in spite of that, and all observances are respected. The heart of a Soller Christmas has remained unchanged for generations and is a good place to be.
The Fiestas of January start with Sant Antoni. On 17th January each year we celebrate with the rest of Spain, the fiesta of San Antoni – his Saints Day is 17th January, and the bonfires are lit the night before. Bonfires, demons and animal blessings are a feature of the season of Sant Antoni. Many schools and organisations have their own Sant Antoni celebrations. The bonfires and barbecues appear to last all January long.
In February we celebrate Carnival. The date is fluid as it ties into the beginning of Lent which is not a fixed date. In 2023 the dates were 17th & 18th February. Rua parades in the Port of Soller for all ages, and the Rueta for the Children happens in the Placa in Soller. Children’s school parades happen in the week of Carnival, and they are all great to watch. Lent starts on 14th February 2024
Easter or Semana Santa
In March/April (depending on the Church Calendar) we celebrate Easter. In 2023 Easter was celebrated from Maundy Thursday 6th April to Easter Monday 10th April 2023. Services every day through Easter with Sant Bartholomew Church leading the way with fantastic theatrical and light events to augment the services. The processions of the Penitents happen for three nights and are a special feature of Easter in the Soller Valley. Good Friday is March 29th 2024 and Easter Sunday 31st March 2024
The Fiesta of the Orange
On April 29th & 30th 2023 we celebrated the Orange with a weekend of festivities. For two weeks, at this time, local restaurants had specially priced orange menus for all to enjoy. A great opportunity to sample the wonderful gastronomy of this area. In 2023 the ‘Weekend of the Orange’ is 29th & 30th April with tasting menus from 21st April to 7th May 2023.
Fira and the Firo
From May 11th, 2023, all attention turns to the Firo preceded by the Fira. The Battle of the Moors and Christians took place on Monday 15th May 2023. Battles on the beaches and in the Placa for the final victory. Guns, bangs, gunpowder and shooting through straw hats is commonplace.
The full historical re-enactment begins in Church on Thursday 11th May 2023. The Valiant Women and all the historical characters gather to set the scene and ignite the passion for another act of remembrance. The original took place in 1562.
From 12th to 14th May there are events all day and live music evenings. The Fair comes to Town, and Soller parties.
Firo takes place annually on the first Monday after the first 2 Sundays in May
In 2024 Firo is on Monday 13th May
2023 Firo Monday 15th May
2024 Firo Monday 13th May
2025 Firo Monday 12th May
2026 Firo Monday 11th May
2027 Firo Monday 10th May
2028 Firo Monday 15th May
2029 Firo Monday 14th May
2030 Firo Monday 13th May
In June we celebrate Sant Joan and purification takes place on 23rd June
St Joan was the saint that baptised Jesus and for that reason the water side locations claim him as their own. At midnight on the Eve of St John people take a swim or a paddle in the sea to symbolise purification and cleansing. It is said that your ailments will disappear and that your sins will be forgiven if you perform this ritual. Dressing in white and joining with many others doing the same thing is also a tradition for some.
The beachside picnics and barbeques are legendary, and the authorities seem to turn a blind eye to the bonfires on the beaches for this one night in the calendar. Candles with their direct flame to heaven are used on the beaches too and sent out on little floats to sea taking with them the prayers of the faithful. writing your intention on a piece of paper which is thrown into the flame is also said to bring you good vibes.
Fiesta of St John in Deia
The Fiesta of St John in Deia starts on June 24th.
Deia celebrates as it knows how, and many events take place over a five-day fiesta period. Live music and Church Services plus the unique events of this remarkable location. The Deia Fiesta is known worldwide, and many make the trek to join in.
The Fiesta of St Peter
The Fiesta of St Peter on 28th June is close to the heart of the Port of Soller.
On 28th June, St Peter is celebrated. The Patron Saint of Fishermen is dear to the heart of the Port of Soller people. Four days of events on the quayside including live music. Families gather on the beaches for family and friends’ gatherings and picnics.
St Peter acknowledges all on the different beaches of the Port of Soller before going home to the Santa Catalina end of the Port.
The Fiesta of Mare de Deu del Carmen
The fiesta of Mare de Deu del Carmen takes place on 15th July each year Our Lady of Carmen, one of the invocations for the Virgin Mary, is considered by Spanish fishermen their loyal guardian and holds the title of Patron awarded by the Armada (Spanish Navy). Also known as “Star of the Seas”
At 20.30 a Mass is said at the Port of Soller Church and there is usually an effigy of Carmen in situ. Many local people attend this service because in one way or another they all have connections with the sea. You cannot fail to be connected if you live in the Port of Soller.
The statues are then processed to the Harbour and loaded on to a procession of small boats. Meanwhile earlier in the day flares are dug into the sand surrounding the bay.
The procession by boat starts around 9 pm and then around 10 pm the Port of Soller is plunged into darkness and the electricity is cut off round the bay. The only light comes from the flares that are lit all around the beach. So, to the darkened Port illuminated by the flares the Mare de Deu de Carmen comes. She gently sweeps the bay until coming back to rest at the Santa Catalina end of the Port of Soller.
The lights come back on, and a family fiesta takes place with people meeting on the beach for picnics and gatherings. Very low key and gentle with an acknowledgment that Carmen does a pretty good job of looking after those who need her.
The neighbourhood Fiestas of L’horta, Estiradors, Biniaraix, Alquira Del Comte
Neighbourhood Fiestas take place in July each year. L’horta and the Estiradors are two to look out for when their dates are announced.
Biniaraix has a neighbourhood Fiesta in July each year. Look out for the programme.
The St Bartholomew’s Fiesta
Sant Bartolomeu is the Saint of Soller, and he is celebrated on 24th August 2023 with a week of celebrations. Many events, live music and a Fire Run with lots of devils and mayhem. Usually, a five-day event if you are reserving dates.
The Fiesta of Fornalutx
The Fiesta of Fornalutx is on dates surrounding 8th September. This is in honour of the village’s patron Saint La Mare de Deu (Mother of God). For four days, events, live music and celebration is the village theme. A bull is paraded through the streets in an age old custom.
September events often include a Fira de La Mar in the Port of Soller. The Habaneras Music Festival visits for two days to its venue on the Repic Beach. In 2023 the Habaneres was celebrated on 22nd and 23rd September.
All Saints Day
The Feast of All Saints Day in Spain takes place on November 1st.
This is significant National Public Holiday. The tradition is for people to return to their City, Town or Village to pay their respects to the people in their families who have ‘gone before’. Families take this commemoration very seriously and adorn the gravesides with elaborate flower arrangements, candles and photographs.
Saints Days have a special place in the Spanish persona as it is the Spaniards second birthday each year when he/she celebrates their own saints day. The naming of a child is often done with a Saint in mind and gives even more significance to the place the Saints play in Spanish life. Flowers for All Saints Day
On November 1st most local cemeteries will hold a collective mass for all the souls who have died. This is attended by hundreds of people and is one of the religious observances that has not gone out of fashion. Roads around cemeteries are re routed with police on hand to direct the many people who arrive in the cemetery.
There are special delicacies associated with All Saints Day – ‘buñuelos de viento’ in particular are fried in hot fat outside baker’s shops and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. This is supposed to represent a puff of wind carrying the soul to heaven. Then there are the huesos de santo – the saint’s bones – made of marzipan, eggs and sugar. These speciality foods are a reminder of the days when foods like these were left at the graveside so that the departed were still included in family feasting for special occasions..
In Soller the cemetery high above the City receives thousands of flowers and hundreds of visitors on the days around 1st November. A mass for the dead is said on the date and the graveyard resembles the market with many meeting family members for the only time in the year. A special Cemetery route is agreed for traffic and police are on hand to look after the crowds and direct them appropriately. Tubs of Michaelmas Daisy plants are often used as the flowers left at the graveside alongside huge, expensive arrangements.
After the meetings at the cemeteries of the area it is traditional for families to have lunch together in one of the local restaurants. This is often the last day of the season for some restaurants and marks the end of the tourist year until next year begins.
Christmas Eve in Soller
The churches of L’horta, Port of Soller, The Sacred Heart Convent, Sa Capelletta, Fornalutx, Biniaraix, Deia and Valldemossa are all venues for Christmas Eve Mass.
The Sant Bartholomew Church in the heart of Soller is the climax of the evening with its service which starts at 11pm and goes on until it ushers in Christmas Day. Many people will attend their own local church and then gather in Soller at Sant Bartholomew to join with the wider community and all their local friends.
The Tram is free on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve and runs all night to get people from Soller to the Port and back. This is the Ferrocarril’s annual gift to the people.
The dish of Christmas Eve tables is often fish with many Christmas recipes being used which have been in the families for generations.
Ensaimada and Hot Chocolate is the celebration dish of the area and comes out for every occasion. At Christmas the chocolate is often infused with brandy and this is a tradition that young and old enjoy. Most bars and restaurants in the heart of Soller are closed at midnight but the two or three that remain open to serve the church goers do a roaring trade in this time honoured way.
December many events for the month leading to Christmas. Christmas lights and Christmas tree switch on. Full programme nearer the time.
Christmas Day In Soller
Christmas Day services usher in Christmas Day here as they do all over the world. Families have their Christmas walks and gatherings and Papa Noel or Father Christmas will have been to visit the houses and leave a little gift. Local children have little expectation of Papa Noel because they know that on the 5th January The Three Kings will visit and bring many gifts and all the ‘must have’ presents of this years Christmas.
Christmas Day food can be any of the delights of this area. Turkey is eaten by some English speaking Sollerics but just as common for all is Suckling Pig, Roast Beef or Lamb. There are many sweet traditions that fill the bakers at this time of year and it is worth asking in them what their specialities are. Each local Soller Bakery has unique sweet dishes that are worth tasting – particularly the ones full of local almonds.
New years Eve
After a two-day celebration it is business as usual and most people go back to work and life continues normally until New Years Eve on 31st December. All the City, Town and Village squares of the Soller Valley will have a party on New Years Eve. The tradition is that even if you have been to a restaurant to eat you will get to your local placa with 12 grapes and a glass of champagne. There as the clock strikes, tradition says that you must eat one grape for each chime to bring you the best luck for next year. The centres come alive with music and dancing and if the council can afford it some fireworks.
December 31st, 2023 – New Year’s Eve in Soller Placa to welcome 2024.