Dia de les Verges and Dia de Tots els Sants: the Mallorcan Halloween.
Almost all of the destinations to which you can travel have festivities that are well known by all visitors, including the Valley of Sóller with its famous Fiestas de Sa Fira i Es Firó, the Fiestas de Sant Bartomeu or Easter. However, in most places there are also other less famous festivities that are less well known by visitors. Festivities which, in the case of Mallorca, are many. These celebrations are held in most of the island's municipalities and have a long historical tradition. A tradition that defines and reflects the local culture of the Balearic Islands and the Mediterranean at all levels. So today we bring you two of these festivities that are so special and characteristic of the Mallorcan people, including the inhabitants of the Sóller Valley: the Dia de les Verges and the Dia de Tots Sants, what we could call the Mallorcan "Halloween". A festivity that in our municipality is celebrated in a totally different way to the Halloween we all know.
21 OCTOBER: THE DAY OF THE VIRGINS
On the 21st of October every year the Dia de les Verges is celebrated to coincide with the legend of Saint Ursula and the 11,000 virgins. A traditional Mallorcan celebration that commemorates the story of Saint Ursula, a young girl from the Middle Ages who converted to Christianity. In order to fulfil her promise to keep her virginity, she decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome and have her vows consecrated by the Pope. The young woman managed to be received by the Pope and to consecrate her vows of virginity. However, on the journey home, she was taken captive by the Huns. While in captivity, the king of the Huns fell in love with her, but she and 11 other maidens resisted giving themselves to him and losing their virginity, and were martyred. For years it has been said that there were 11,000 instead of 11 due to a historical writing error. Thus, this legend spread to many parts of Europe, including the island of Mallorca, and today it has become one of the most traditional festivities of our island. A festivity in which the Patron Saint of the Virgins is commemorated during the night of 20th October and 21st October, Dia de les Verges (Day of the Virgins).
The celebration consists of young men serenading the girls they are in love with, their girlfriends or their friends on the 21st of October and, in exchange, they give them fritters, one of the most traditional sweets in Mallorca. It is true that nowadays the tradition has been lost, however, several schools in the Sóller Valley still celebrate this day with carnations and fritters. The girls receive carnations and then eat fritters with the boys.
The inhabitants of Sóller also continue to celebrate this day and it is very likely that on the 21st of October you will find carnations in the flower shops and in the centre of Sóller, and potato fritters in some of the local bakeries and even in some "paradeta" that sell them on that day expressly for the festival. This is undoubtedly a unique opportunity to try one of the most traditional sweets of the autumn and of this festivity. On the other hand, in the Sóller Valley it is also a tradition to eat roasted almonds during the Dia de les Verges, a nut that you can also find in the shops in the centre of the municipality. It is undoubtedly a celebration with a great historical tradition, perfect for discovering part of the local culture and gastronomy as well as some of the typical melodies and verses of this festivity celebrated in commemoration of the legend of Saint Ursula and the 11,000 virgins.
1st NOVEMBER: EL DIA DE TOTS SANTS (SAINTS DAY)
El Dia de Tots Sants is a festivity known and celebrated in different ways all over the world: Halloween in the USA, the Day of the Dead in Mexico or the Night of Samhain in Scotland. However, although the origin of the celebration is the same as in most of the world, in our municipality we celebrate this festivity dedicated to the dead in a totally different way. The Dia de Tots Sants is the Mallorcan version of the Celtic festival of Samhain. An ancient festivity in which the agricultural new year was celebrated (related to agriculture and the arrival of winter). A time when the agricultural year comes to an end, the cold weather arrives and the sowing season begins. A time when, according to Samhain, the souls of the dead return to earth. A belief that almost all of Europe inherited and still celebrates today.
In Sóller, as in the majority of municipalities in Mallorca, on this day it is customary to go to the cemetery to visit deceased relatives, bring them flowers and gifts and clean their tombs. It is a very special date on which the cemetery of our municipality dresses up and shows off its best version. For this reason, and although it is a festivity related to the dead, we recommend that if you are in the Sóller Valley at this time of year, you visit the local cemetery, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the Tramuntana, surrounded by nature and flowers and, at this time of year, full of local people and more beautiful than at any other time of the year. Without a doubt a different kind of visit to get to know and experience the local culture first hand and visit a place that is not so touristy but which is certainly worthwhile. To do this we can go up to the centre of Sóller by tram or taxi and from the train station or taxi rank, located next to each other, take a walk to the cemetery, located about 10-15 minutes walk from the Sóller Railway Station. Once you have visited the cemetery, we recommend that you continue your walk in the direction of Ses Tres Creus, a viewpoint located at the end of the same road as the cemetery. The climb to Ses Tres Creus takes about 20 minutes and is highly recommended at this time of year, as from here you can enjoy incredible views of the Sóller Valley, the Mediterranean, the Tramuntana mountain range and Fornalutx, all from the same viewpoint. Finally, after taking our photographs and enjoying the incredible views, we can return to the main square of Sóller and buy a Rosari. A marzipan sweet in the shape of a necklace typical of these festivities which, according to tradition, godparents give to their godchildren during the Dia de Tots Sants (All Saints' Day). A curious fact is that nowadays they make them in many sizes and flavours, not just marzipan, so you are sure to find one to your liking. Finally, after enjoying the atmosphere of the centre of Sóller on a public holiday, we can return to the Aimia Hotel on a fantastic tram ride back to the Port.
On the other hand, if you would like to get to know more emblematic and characteristic places of this festivity, we recommend you to visit one of our neighbouring municipalities: Fornalutx. An idyllic Tramuntana village where you can also visit its picturesque cemetery located among centenary olive and carob trees and take a wonderful walk along the path that links this place with the square of Fornalutx.
Discovering the place and the traditions of the places we visit is one of the elements that makes each of our trips so valuable, that characteristic that enriches each destination we visit. For all these reasons, the Dia de les Verges and the Dia de Tots Sants are, without a doubt, two not so well known dates in the Sóller Valley, perfect for getting to know the customs, the people, the gastronomy and part of the local history. If you are staying at our hotel and would like more information about the Dia de les Verges and/or the Dia de Tots Sants, as well as other places to discover on these dates in the Valley of Sóller and its surroundings, do not hesitate to ask our reception team, who will be delighted to answer any questions you may have.