Festival of the Beata in Santa Margalida

The Festival of the Beata (Les Festes de la Beata), which is the most characteristic procession of Mallorca, takes place at Santa Margalida on the first weekend of September. The origins of this festival are unknown, though it is linked to the festivals held throughout the island to celebrate the beatification of Sister Caterina Tomàs, who is widely worshipped on Mallorca.

The festival starts in the early evening on the Saturday, with a floral offering at the monument to the saint, followed by an open-air celebration which lasts through to the following morning. Sunday is the saint´s day, and the festival starts in the morning when demons run around the streets of the village waking people up with the sound of bells, and then a mass is held. Around 7 in the evening groups dressed in traditional Mallorcan costume go to collect jugs from the convent, whilst the demons tear round the streets causing a racket with their bells. At 8 pm the procession leads off to the church, with floats which represent scenes from the life of Sister Caterina Tomàs, groups of flautists and couples carrying jugs between them. The demons take the jugs from people and carry them to the two or three demons who are responsible for smashing them at the feet of the girl who represents the saint, performing their characteristic dance, which consists of dancing round her on one foot. At this moment the saint raises the cross and the demon jumps up, and whilst in the air they throw down the entire jug so that it smashes. This represents the life of the saint, which is recalled in this song:

She brought dinner (Ella portava el dinar)
To the poor harvesters (a los pobres segadors)
And the jealous demon (I el dimoni envejós)
Threw it to the ground (en terra li va tirar)
So she picked it up again (ella el va tornar aixecar)
And it was even tastier (i va ser més saborós)

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