The Festa de l’Estendard is held on December 31st (tomorrow) to celebrate the conquest of the island by the troops of Rey Jaume I in 1229 and the subsequent incorporation of Mallorca. This tribute to the Conqueror and his standard banner is one of the most colourful celebrations one can see in Mallorca, heralding the conquest of Madînat Mayûrqa, now Palma de Mallorca, and thus the end of Islamic rule, here. The event is held annually and is thought to be one of the oldest civic celebrations in Europe as it has first been celebrated during the 13th century. The festivity captures historical, political and military elements, involving beautiful horses, uniforms and music. I strongly urge you to visit the activities if you have not done so before. Come early, though, to safeguard a front row position.
Sadly, the conquest by the King from Aragón and his men also implies the surrender and annihilation of the Maurish population under the last Almohad Wâlî (governor), Abú Yahya Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abi Imran at-Tinmalali. As far as I am aware, no mention is ever made of him in any of the festivity literature. To be fair, one has to admit, though, that a public square is bearing his name, the Plaza de Abú Yahya in Palma, fittingly situated at the top of Carrer 31 de Diciembre.
Festivities start tonight, December 30th, at 19h00 with a concert in Plaça d’Espanya given by the Banda de Música Municipal, followed by a church service at 19h30 at the church of Sant Miquel. At 20h00, homage will be rendered tonight to Rei En Jaume at his monument in Plaça d’Espanya.
Tomorrow, December 31st, the proper Festa will commence at 10h15 with a celebration of the Estendard Reial de la Conquesta de Mallorca and of the Cimera del Rei Martí, followed by a mass at the Palma Cathedral, to be presided by the Bishop of Mallorca, at 10h30. After the service, a procession of dignitaries, mounted forces, Cavallets, Cossiers dancers and the Joch de Ministrils del Consell de Mallorca will be parading down to Plaça de Cort and the town hall. There, at 12h00, La Colcada will be represented by Miquelina Lladó and a group of schoolchildren from the Escola de Música i Danses de Mallorca, followed by the last address to be given by the outgoing Batle de Ciutat, Mateu Isern (local elections will be held in 2015 and Senyor Isern was urged by his own party not to stand again).
After the event, the city’s gold medals will be presented (Premis Ciutat de Palma 2014) and the city of Palma de Mallorca will also announce this year’s list of illustrious citizens.
Today and tomorrow, the Ajuntament de Palma (townhall) will have a policy of Open Doors to allow the public into its building, including the Plenary Room.