Moors and Chritians fighting at one of the biggest fiestas in Mallorca

The Moors and Christians: The August Fiesta not to be missed

Mare de Déu dels Angels, assistiu-mos.
Pollencins, aixecauvos,
que els pirates ja són aqui.” 

Our Lady of Angels, help us.
Pollensa, get up!
The pirates are already here! 

These are the words of Joan Mas calling to the heavens on encountering the pirate leader, Dragut. The whole event dates back to when the Moors and Christians had their spat in 1550 and Dragut, a Turkish pirate was nothing more than an opportunist, looking to loot the town. The battle ensued thanks to the treacherous actions of local Christian, Joan Xumet (aka Lloctinent, who has his own role in the contemporary simulation) who allied himself with the pirates. 

Moors and Christians: What is it all about?

In a nutshell, the battle gets started at 7pm when Joan and Dragut encounter each other in the Plaça Almoina. Joan eyeballs Dragut, calls on the Patrona for her assistance, chases him and his troops to Sant Jordi and then hoofs it to the football pitch for a bundle with Dragut and his boys. They beat them, nick their flag and Joan and his mates trundle back to the main church in Plaça Major for some thanksgiving. This is rounded off by a hearty rendition of Pollensa’s anthem, Visca Pollensa, and a knock-your-socks-off firework display. The battle is re-enacted every year on August 2nd. 

It is the realism in its delivery that makes this fiesta so important and so thrilling. The Moors and Christians is live theatre. It is not showy or glitzy; it’s messy, it’s dirty, it’s crowded, and it’s hot and sweaty. These are non-entertainers, entertaining. Whether they are young or old, the people of Pollensa are proud of their local tradition. It is astonishing and a remarkable manifestation of popular theatre for and by the people, performed in the streets that once witnessed the actual battle. 

Plan Your Day

With the 2nd August following the same programme year in year out, locals generally know where to go at what time. If you’re not in the know, however, it can be difficult. So here’s our quick guide: 

Alborada: 5am Pollensa Town, 8:30am Cala Sant Vicente and 9:15am Puerto Pollensa

The town band play this traditional piece of music, an emotionally stirring memorial piece to remember the most severe pirate attack Pollensa has ever seen. The party in the square is just about finishing up, so many revellers are still out. Those who’ve had a good night’s sleep come back to join the band, despite the time. It is listened to in silence and with respect – astonishing considering there was a huge party in full swing less than an hour ago. Then the townsfolk follow the band through the streets of Pollensa before the musicians leave to do the same in Cala and the Port. 

Cossiers at 11am
Cossiers at Moors and Christians fiesta

They dance in the main church from 11am. At 12.15pm they move into the square. (Take your fan with you!) Some years the dancing takes to the streets. Check locally, and on our What’s On page, closer to the time for last minute details. It is very pretty and if you can handle the heat, well worth watching.

Arrival of the Moros at 5pm
Arrival of the Moors at the Moors and Christians Fiesta

Entering the square from C/Antoni Maura (by the Joan March Gardens) the Tropa del Solda usher in the gang of t-shirt swinging Moors. It’s loud and hectic and, particularly at the bottom of the square, near Club Pollensa, it is jam-packed. Stand and watch near the Can Olesa Restaurant. 

The Procession at 5:30pm
Procession at the Moors and Christians fiesta

Children and people from the town hold a mini procession along the streets. Each year there is a lottery for who will play the young Joan Mas. Watch along the c/ Major and c/Joan Mas.

Dragut’s Rally Cry and the Cannons
Dragut rallies his crowd at the Moors and Christians Fiesta

After their arrival in the square, the moros head to the Monti-Sion church to get ready and wait for Dragut to emerge from the council building and give his speech to his crowd just before 7pm. The cannons then fire for the 7pm battle to commence.

The Battle Commences 7pm
Joan Mas and Dragut in battle at the Moors and Christians fiesta

The Battle kicks off at 7pm on the dot at Plaza Almoina. Unless you’ve claimed your spot since lunchtime, don’t bother trying to watch it there. The fighting is all along c/Major down c/Mar and on to the football pitch where the battle ends when Joan Mas wins again.

Joan Mas defeats Dragut
Thanksgiving at the Main Church 9:30pm
Thanksgiving in the Church at Moors and Christians Fiesta

Joan Mas and his gang run back to the church with the two flags. And everyone gathers into the church for a service of thanksgiving. Straight after, everyone piles into the square where the band are waiting to play the rousing Visca Pollensa for everyone to sing along to.

Fireworks 11pm

If after a long and hot day of exhausting festivity, you still feel up to it, head to the Roman Bridge where there is an amazing firework display. 

If your trip to the North of Mallorca coincides with August 2nd, the Moors and Christians battle is well worth seeing, it’s guaranteed you won’t see anything like this anywhere else. If you do come and you are with young children or anyone unsteady on their feet, be careful of where you stand to watch. Generally C/del Mar is good, so, avoid narrow streets and listen to locals and read the signs, and of course enjoy the amazing atmosphere!

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