The Mallorcan people are clear about it: if you want to live a Christmas experience, you have to go to Palma.
Every year the city attracts people from all corners of the island who want to see the traditional lights or the different events scheduled during the festive period.
Nowadays, the opening ceremony is a few days before the Black Friday, so people from all over Mallorca know that they can head down to Palma as early as the end of November for a Christmas experience.
This year, 415 km of garlands and more than a thousand trees covered with lights have been installed, according to a press release issued by the Palma City Council.
Much of the Christmas lights are placed in downtown, but there are some special places where the locals go to see them. Passeig del Born, Plaça Joan Carles I or La Rambla are some of the busiest spots for people taking pictures and admiring the lights.
The Christmas markets are another of Palma's hot spots.
The main areas are Plaça Major, La Rambla or Plaça d'Espanya. There are many items to choose from, such as Christmas decorations, craft products, or street food. In 2021 there are 132 stands in the city, according to the Palma City Council, but before the Covid-19 pandemic there used to be more than 200.
Plaça d’Espanya is also known for the churros stalls. Locals like to stop there for some hot chocolate with churros before or after walking under the Christmas lights. It is also a solution to heat up the body on a cold evening. A 'shot' of hot chocolate and churros is also a good solution to warm up the body on a cold afternoon.
Song of the Sybil
There is another Christmas tradition that anyone can follow in Palma and that is very typical in Mallorca.
The Song of the Sibyl is performed on Christmas Eve in many churches and has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The performance in the Cathedral is so popular that it is even broadcast on television.
The Three Wise Men
The party is not over yet after New Years.
The Three Wise Men (Reyes Magos, in Spanish) arrive at the port of Palma on 5 January by boat bringing joy and sweets to the children during the traditional parade.
They arrive on the island every year at 6:00 p.m. and then they start their way to the center of the city of Palma.
The Three Wise Men who participate in the main parade in Mallorca do not share the gifts on site, but later go house to house in secret to put the gifts under the Christmas tree. Elsewhere on the island, the parade ends by giving gifts to children, usually inside a church.
*Pablo Morilla is a journalist, author of the blog Michan en Finlandia