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Perhaps one of the main attractions for any visitors to Binissalem is just the wonderful atmosphere that surrounds the town and its people. It is almost like stepping back in time, Binissalem is untouched, unspoiled, innocent and unexploited. People can still leave their front doors and cars unlocked at night and young children are often seen playing unaccompanied and quite safely in the town’s main square.
Another excellent reason for visiting is to take part in the annual cycle of festivities, which form an important part of everyday life in the town. The first event of the year is held on January 17th, in honour Sant Antoni Abat the patron saint of animals, and is an excellent reason for a winter break to the region. The festivities begin on the evening of the 16th, with the lighting of small bonfires that the local residents sit around, singing traditional songs and roasting "botifarrons" - the local blood sausage. As the evening progresses, men and women dressed up as devils and demons arrive and cause happy chaos as they move from one bonfire to the next, usually partaking in a drink or two on the way, and becoming ever livelier as they travel around into the early hours. The following day there is a colourful parade through the town, culminating in the blessing of animals in front of the parish church.
The next event of the year is called the "Pancaritat", which is a large communal picnic that takes place on Easter Sunday each year, on the Can Arabi recreational area. This is then followed on the last Sunday of May by the Binissalem Agriculture Fair. Whilst this still remains a traditional agricultural and livestock show, over recent years it has developed a more commercial theme, although exhibitions of livestock, agricultural machinery and local handicrafts remain at its core.
The first proper fiesta of the year doesn’t actually take place in Binissalem until the 25th of July and is in honour of Sant Jaume, the patron saint of the town. This is a typical Majorcan fiesta, with a colourful parade through the winding streets of the town and a number of other sporting and musical events taking place throughout the day.
In September, the grapes are picked in the surrounding vineyards and the town celebrates its wine growing heritage with the Fiesta of La Vermada. The fiesta takes place during the last week of the month and is famous throughout the island and beyond for the huge grape fight that start off in the Plaza de l'Esglèsia. The event attracts locals and tourists alike and begins with a rocket being fired, the signal for the crowds to follow a piper and a drummer to a nearby field. A circle of people is then formed around a huge pile of grapes, and when the whistle blows everyone dives in for the great grape battle.
On a more highbrow note, Binissalem has strong associations with two renowned Majorcan writers who both made their homes
in the town. The first was Llorenç Moyà, who’s house, Can Gelabert, has now been converted into the town’s cultural centre,
library and municipal school of music. The other famous writer to settle here was Llorenç Villalonga, who was the author of
the novel ‘Mort de Dama’ or ‘Death of Drama’, which was undoubtedly inspired by the people and landscapes around Binissalem.
His residence in the town is a typical Majorcan building, known as Can Sabater, which now houses the Llorenç Villalonga Foundation
House Museum. The house is open to the public most days and can be contacted at:
Foundation House Museum Llorenç Villalonga
Calle de Bonaire, 25
Telephone: +34 971 886 556
Fax: +34 971 886 014
Web Site: www.cmvillalonga.org
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