Regardless of the wind, rain and cooler temperatures, spirits in Menorca were high for the Fiesta of Sant Antoni, the island’s patron saint, and La Diada de Menorca on Thursday 17 January 2013, with all sorts of events taking place in the towns and villages. In addition to the public torradas (barcecues) with sobrasada, cuixot and botifarró sausages the night before, and traditional blessing of the animals at church services on the Saint’s day itself, the festivities continued into the weekend with street markets, concerts, folk singing, dancing and children’s entertainment.
Sant Antoni Abat or St Anthony the Abbot, who is often illustrated alongside a pig and a lamb, is also the patron saint of domestic and farm animals. It has become tradition for most parishes in Menorca to hold special church services for people to bring their animals and pets to be blessed, ranging from horses and dogs to hamsters and even turtles. Believing that this will protect them from disease throughout the following year, the services are especially popular amongst children. (Click here for more information.)
As the holiday season continued in Menorca throughout September, here are some of the stories that were making the headlines behind the scenes.
Menorca the victim of arson attacks: Making the headlines throughout September was the number of forest fires which broke out around the island, leading to the suspicion, later confirmed, that some of them were the work of a pyromaniac. The first was a relatively small fire on the Santa Catalina farm on the Maó to Fornells road that could have proved disastrous as it started at the edge of a large expanse of woodland and the dry, windy could have spread it rapidly. However, the fire fighting services were quick to respond including aerial help from the helicopter based at S’Aranji and the fire was quickly contained and extinguished. It is thought the fire was started by a cigarette end thrown from a passing car.
The sound of nine Hawk T1 jet engines filled the bright blue Menorcan sky as the fabulous Red Arrows arrived in perfect formation into Mahon airport yesterday afternoon. A wonderful sight as each one landed and Menorca welcomed these highly skilled ambassadors of the UK to the island once again. And the feeling is mutual as the Red Arrows actually requested a stopover in Menorca between venues, having enjoyed their visit so much in May 2011 as part of the 300th anniversary celebrations to commemorate the first naval hospital built on the Isla del Rey in Mahón Harbour. This year’s visit coincides with the tercentenary celebrations of the arrival of Richard Kane, the first British Governor of Menorca in 1712.
As would be expected, there has been a disproportionate amount of depressing news around this summer with threats of strikes, increased unemployment’s and more cut backs as Menorca continues to endure the economic crisis. Even the sunny weather has often failed to put a smile on people’s faces as the tourist season struggles to deliver its much needed revenue to those whose livelihoods depend on making the most of an even shorter summer season and holidaymakers with reduced spending power.
Without wishing to depress those planning to visit Menorca, here are some of the stories that have made the headlines over the summer months on this fascinating Mediterranean island, which despite the recession is still full of tradition, natural beauty and charm...it’s not all gloom and doom...!
The magnificent Red Arrows are returning to Menorca on Wednesday, 26th September 2012. At 15.00 hours, residents and visitors to Menorca will have a second fantastic opportunity to see the RAF Red Arrows aerobatic team perform their spectacular display over Mahón harbour. It is an exceptional privilege for Menorca to welcome these amazing pilots and ambassadors of Great Britain to the island just one year later.
In May 2011, their demonstration was arranged to create a dramatic start to the 300th Anniversary Celebrations of the first British Royal Naval Hospital built on Isla Del Rey. This year, they will perform once again over the Isla Del Rey at the invitation of Fundación Desti and as part of the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Richard Kane’s arrival on the island in 1712 as Menorca’s first British Governor.
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