The Moors and Christians festivities of Pollensa are one of the most famous and busiest in Majorca. Loaded with tradition, it’s one of the highlights of the year for the inhabitants of Pollença, as well as an unforgettable event for the many visitors who visit the town on that day to experience the "battle" in person.
Every August 2nd, at early hours of the morning, the arrival of the privateers is simulated to signal the neighbours to be prepared. However, it’s not until the evening, after the procession of an ancient image of the patron saint, that the recreation of the Moors against Christians battle begins.
What once was a tough fight where the locals tried to protect their land, customs and way of life against the Arab invasion, is now one of the Balearic Islands’ most popular and ingrained festivities.
The holiday begins at five in the morning, after the town dance and the band plays the "Alborada". The celebrations continue with a mass in honour of the Mare de Deu dels Angels at 11 am, and the colourful and ancestral dance by the traditional Majorcan cossiers.
The main activities are held in the afternoon; initiating in the Almoina square with the encounter between Joan Mas, leader of the Christians, and the leader of the invaders, Dragut and his lieutenant, head of the Ottomans. The final battle is triggered by a shout from Joan Mas imploring the aid of the Virgin Mare de Déu dels Àngels "assistiu-mos que els pirates ja son aquí!" (Help us, the pirates are here!).
Almost the entire population hits the streets to participate in the mock battle with swords made of wood, the Christians dressed in white pyjamas and nightgowns and their adversaries with colourful attire.
The Moors retreat down the main street and when they reach Can Nogués, l'Ajuntament Vella joins the battle, a character who represents the former University governing body in Majorca. When they arrive at the Church of Sant Jordi, there is another fight that represents the liberation of the women, men and children imprisoned there by the Moors.
The battle continues until the old football field, where the final confrontation takes place.
The result? The people of Pollença won thanks to Joan Mas, who led the fight against the opponents, far superior in number: 1,500 men who were not able to defeat the brave local inhabitants.