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TRADITIONAL CULTURE

THE “LLANTERNES”: A REGAINED TRADITIONTHE “LLANTERNES”: A REGAINED TRADITIONTHE “LLANTERNES”: A REGAINED TRADITION

THE “LLANTERNES”: A REGAINED TRADITION

Every year, the 24th of August, night of Saint Bartholomew, a large group of parents and children invades the streets of the historical centre of Alcúdia to concentrate in front of the Town Hall around 9 PM. There they have been called by Sarau Alcudienc. Then, from a small square close to our Town Hall, a large parade begins which covers the most emblematic streets of town.

The children, accompanied by parents and grandparents, all carry a “llanterna”, a lantern made from a watermelon, a melon or sometimes a large red pepper, from which the pulp is extracted and a candle is put inside it. Simple figures (a cloud, the sun, the moon, the outline of a bird) a drawn on the exterior, and then with the help of a knife the peel inside the area of the drawings is removed, without actually making any holes in the melon, which then can be left fully empty once the exterior decoration is finished. The idea is to therefore leave a thin layer that will be translucent to the light form the candle that will be placed in the inside.

The crowd, during the long procession, covers the chosen path, singing traditional songs from Majorca, “El sereno ha mort un moix” (the night watchman has killed a cat, children’s song). All ends at the starting point, where a brief speech is given about the need to maintain our traditions, customs and language to avoid being gobbled up by the globalisation vortex or by other cultures with a greater presence in the media. Finally, a release of balloons, the giving out of sweets and, on occasions, a children’s entertainment group end this traditional celebration.

This celebration began the year 1978 hand in hand with the Obra Cultural Balear (whose members then created our traditional culture centre) with the objective of promoting the llanternes tradition, which had fell into disuse after the massive generalisation of the TV towards the end of the 60s. Our association, Sarau Alcudienc, as the propagating centre of Mallorca’s own culture, is the organiser, edition after edition, of this popular celebration, which as the years have passed has spread to other towns of the island.