Friday, 4 September 2009 12:00 AM
For a sense of Catholic culture while away on holiday in Mallorca, the La Beata Festival may be just up your street.
Every year, the town of Santa Margalida in Mallorca – or Majorca as it is often known – comes alive as it hosts a weekend full of celebration and colour in honour of its patron saint Catalina Tomas.
In commemoration of her beatification by Pope Pius VI in 1792, those holidaying on the island during the festival – whether on a late availability deal or otherwise – will be able to observe a noisy, colourful procession offering a whole range of delights for the senses.
Parades and parties
The Saturday afternoon of the La Beata Festival – also known as Dissabte de la Beata – sees an offering of flowers be made at Catalina’s monument.
In the evening, floats depart from the local parish church, followed by a number of local girls chosen to dress up as the saint herself. The parade culminates in an open-air party where food, music and dancing are all in free flow throughout the night. However, the fun is not just confined to adults as children dress up as devils, running around and creating commotion.
This day also sees residents throughout the town display a ceramic tile containing Catalina’s teachings in the hope that it will bless their household.
Walking with the devil
The following day – Diumenge de la Beata – is the main day of the La Beata festival and starts with a mid-morning Mass. Here, the devils of last night wait for Catalina to come out of church before taking to the streets and waking up residents with the sounds of the cowbells that are attached to their clothing.
In the evening another procession takes place depicting various events in Catalina’s life. Here observers are given clay pitchers; however, do not expect to keep hold of them as a souvenir of a Mallorca holiday as the devils will look to grab them and smash them at the feet of Catalina.
But with the event taking place in the first weekend of every September, seeking out a late availability holiday in Mallorca could be an ideal way of making sure you do not miss out on the festivities.