One of the un-missable festivals takes place in Fornells to celebrate Sant Antoni Abat.
The Patron Saint
As the patron saint of the village of Fornells, Sant Antoni Abat, (in English, Saint Anthony Abbot) is honoured each July with a town festival. Considered to be the father of Christian monasticism, Sant Antoni is an immensely important and inspirational figure for the entire island of Menorca.
The festival follows roughly the same schedule every year, honouring age-old traditions. If you’re thinking of attending the celebration while staying at a villa in Fornells, here are a few things you can expect to see.
First, on the Saturday afternoon, the town bells will ring, signalling the beginning of the celebratory weekend. Next, a marching band processes down the village streets, accompanied by enormous papier-mâché figures called gegants i capgrossos, or, “giants and big heads.” Ornately decorated to depict historical figures or town personalities, these papier-mâché behemoths are a common sight at many Spanish fiestas.
The event officially begins after the fabioler, or “whistle blower” approaches the town hall to ask the mayor for permission to start the festivities. At this point, the main act can begin: la Qualcada, or “the cavalcade” of black Menorcan horses and their riders, the caixers. A mainstay of any Menorcan celebration, these stunning horses are known for performing a dance called the jaleo. In the jaleo, the caixer, pulls the reins to bring his horse onto its hind legs. The horse then walks through the crowd of revellers, some of which try to dart between the horse’s legs and touch the animal’s heart for good luck.