Who Was Sant Lluis?
Sant Lluis, also know as Saint Louis or Louis IX, was the King of France between 1226 and 1270. Considered to be the very model of the ideal Christian monarch, Louis IX’s actions were directly inspired by Christian values, and he participated in both the seventh and eighth crusade. To this day, Louis IX is the only French monarch to have ever been canonized. This accounts for the numerous places named after him, including Sant Lluis, Menorca, and St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
The focal point of the Fiesta de Sant Lluis is the town’s church, a towering white Neoclassical structure also named for the king and saint. Held annually on the last weekend in August, the fiesta includes many solemn religious ceremonies inside this iconic church.
Other parts of the fiesta, however, are considerably more lighthearted. The parade that marks the beginning of the fiesta features enormous papier-mâché effigies called els gegants i capgrossos, the giants and big heads. These figures usually depict archetypal characters or historical figures, and are a common sight at Spanish festivals.
Of course, no Menorcan fiesta would be complete without a display of the island’s black thoroughbred horses, the pride of the area. The riders atop these magnificent steeds are called caixers, who make up the Qualcada, or cavalcade.
At various points throughout the fiesta, the caixer and his horse perform jaleo, a traditional ‘dance’ for horse and rider. In jaleo, the caixer pulls the horse onto its hind legs, and then walks it forward. It is tradition among the locals to try to touch the horse’s heart for good luck as it passes by, but this takes a lot of nerve!
Staying in Sant Lluis
If you’re ready to fiesta in Menorca, why not rent a classic villa near the beautiful town of Sant Lluis? Punta Prima, the town’s main beach resort, is only ten minutes from the town centre, and offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean sunrise. Browse our website or get in touch to discover the amazing experiences waiting for you in Menorca.