The Festa de L’Estendard is a colourful celebration of the conquest of Palma de Mallorca by the Christian King James in 1229. Signifying the end of Arab rule in Mallorca, the Festa de L’Estendard is considered to be one of the oldest festivals in Europe. The celebrations begin on 30th December, with floral tributes laid at the statue of King James, known as King Jaume I. It’s certainly worth heading to the Cathedral for the spectacular morning mass - a great way to experience the atmosphere of this stunning building. The main event is the colourful traditional procession throughout the city which features costumed locals playing traditional instruments and engaging in thirteenth century dancing - a ritual which has been taking place in these streets for centuries.
The Festa de L’Estendard officially takes place each year on 31st December, the anniversary of the date in 1229 when Christianity was brought to Palma. Flowers are laid at the King James statue in Plaça d’Espanya the previous evening at 8pm. Head to Cort Square in the morning for the laying of the Royal banner at 10:15am followed by the traditional reading of a nineteenth century poem by Pere Alcàntara which depicts the festival in those times. Following this, the procession will make its way through the city streets with locals dressed in thirteenth century costumes while drummers provide the perfect accompaniment to the traditional dancing.
If you’re planning to attend this illuminating festival in Palma de Mallorca over the festive period, make sure you’re prepared for the weather. While the local climate is certainly more comfortable than many places in Northern Europe during December, the temperatures can descend to around 11 degrees during the day. Make sure you bring plenty of layers with you as you can expect very pleasant sunny spells interspersed with a chilly breeze that can take you by surprise.
Make the most of your visit to one of Europe’s oldest public celebrations by staying in the perfect rental accommodation for you. At Eventful Stays, you can choose to stay in apartments, townhouses, poolside studios, bed and breakfasts or boats…all within easy reach of the cathedral on foot. Check out our accommodation in Palma de Mallorca.
While you’re in Palma, make sure you find time to see some of the amazing sights on the island, including: the Musei parroquial de Sant Jaume and the Basilica de Sant Francesc. If you’re interested in history, take a trip to the Ciutat romana de Pollentia, the incredible ancient ruins of Pollentia.
To find out more information about this traditional festival, please look at the city’s official website, where you’ll be able to check out the official programme of events, find out more about the history of King James and see videos of last year’s event.
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