The celebrations started in Mahón last Saturday 10 January with a ceremony and enactment of the freedom of Menorca, reminiscent of the commemorations that used to take place up until the 19th century.
At 11.30 hours, members of the Town Council and representatives from the Consell Insular and Balearic Government gathered to lay a wreath at the monument of King Alfonso III in the Plaça de la Conquesta. Mayoress of Mahón Àgueda Reynés highlighted the legacy left by King Alfonso of Aragon which signified the beginning of modern society in Menorca and its identity as a nation with its own culture, personality and traditions, yet one that also recognises its Catalan surroundings and principles.
Mahón’s Municipal Band struck up the ‘Anthem of Menorca’ and the group moved to the Plaça Constitució where a crowd was gathering to see a performance by the Giants. Mahón’s Giants Tomeu and Guida recalled the events that took place in January 1287, narrated by Andrew Vincent and Susana Dominguez, which were acted out by giant effigies of King Alfonso III and the Moorish King in the middle of the square. (King Alfonso was played by the Llucmaçanes Giant Rei Gaspa and Giant Abu Umar, who was not able to take part as he is currently undergoing repairs, was replaced by the brand new Llucmaçanes Giant Rei Baltasar, who made his inaugural appearance for the occasion.) All four Giants then danced to the delight of the children watching.
With the Plaça Constitució and main streets of the town decorated with flags, Mahón is prepared for the many events organised by the Town Hall to celebrate the ‘Diada’ and the Fiesta de Sant Antoni, which this year have gone back in time to the Middle Ages with a Medieval themed market from Thursday 17 until Sunday 20 January 2013, a re-enactment of the conquest of Menorca by Alfonso III and a Medieval display of single combat.