Mallorca, a beautiful island in the Mediterranean, has a rich history and culture. Over the centuries, the island played an important role in Mediterranean trade, but it was often attacked by pirates. To defend against these attacks, the people on the island developed various defense mechanisms, including lighting fires on towers to alert other towers and the capital city of Palma. One of the most famous festivals that commemorates this history is the Es Firó festival in Sóller, Mallorca, celebrated annually on the second Monday of May. The Es Firó weekend will take place from May 11th to May 15th in 2023.
The Lighting of Fires on Towers
When a watchman in a tower spotted a pirate ship, he lit a fire in the tower to signal the threat. The watchman in the next tower saw the fire and then lit a fire in his tower to pass the signal to the next tower. In this way, the fire signal was passed from tower to tower until it finally reached the capital city of Palma to inform the residents there of the threat. This system worked very well and was an effective method for quickly responding to threats and protecting against pirate attacks.
The Talayots and Towers
The Talayots on Mallorca were part of a network of towers built all over the island to protect against pirate attacks. These towers were often built on hills or rises and were used to pass a fire signal to other towers when a threat was spotted. The Talayots are massive round towers made of stones that are often several stories high. They are believed to have been built in the Bronze Age and served as homes, watchtowers, and fortresses.
The towers that are incorporated into the country estates are also an important part of the island’s architecture. These towers were often part of the estates of wealthy landowners and were used to protect against pirate attacks. They are often square and built of stone and have small windows for observing enemies. Many of these towers are still in good condition today and can be visited.
Torre Picada, Port de Sóller
Es Firó Festival in Sóller
An important part of the Es Firó festival is the reenactment of the pirate attack in which the women of Sóller successfully repelled the attack. During the festival, the scene is recreated with costumed actors, horses, and weapons to honor the heroic deed of the women. The people of Sóller take the history of the pirate attack and the achievement of their ancestors very seriously and keep the legacy alive every year at Es Firó. The festival is not just an event that attracts tourists, but it is also an important part of the local community and a way to celebrate the island’s history and culture.
The Es Firó festival takes place every year on the second Monday in May and lasts for a total of three days. It is a festival supported by the entire community in Sóller and attracts many people from all over the island as well as other parts of the world. The streets are decorated with colorful banners and flags, and there are numerous stands selling local products and souvenirs.
The highlight of the festival is the reenactment of the pirate attack, which takes place on the third day. The women of Sóller are dressed in traditional costumes and hold weapons such as pikes and swords to repel the attack. The men are dressed as pirates and try to raid the village. The reenactment is very realistic and intense, and the spectators can feel the tension and excitement that must have been present during such an attack.
In addition to the reenactment of the pirate attack, there are also other activities during the Es Firó festival. There are concerts, dances, and fireworks that make the festival even more spectacular. The local cuisine is also celebrated, and there are numerous stands selling traditional dishes and drinks of the island.
The Es Firó festival in Sóller, Mallorca, is a unique cultural event that brings together history, tradition, and entertainment. The reenactment of the pirate attack, along with the other festivities, is a reminder of the town’s rich history and the resilience of its people. The festival is not only a celebration of the past but also a celebration of the present, as locals and tourists alike come together to enjoy the music, food, and activities. If you are ever in Mallorca during the second week of May, the Es Firó festival is definitely worth experiencing.