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Saint Anthony night in Mallorca

I do not know how to sleep on an airplane - therefore, excuse me for the many letters, I had to occupy myself with something for the long 9 hours of travel from Kamchatka & hellip;

Night of St. Anthony in Mallorca

I decided right away - this text will be off-top, because in addition to climbing the peaks, various interesting things are happening around. And not reflecting these impressions means showing black ingratitude to the one who makes it possible to see and feel all this.

Feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

As you get older, you read more and more to distinguish false from real. Unfortunately, this makes the present less and less, and sometimes it seems that it disappears altogether. Therefore, every time you come across something in which the proportion of falsehood is less than the usual level, very vivid and memorable emotions arise, which feed on inner optimism and noticeably improve the picture around.
I also noticed that someone else's falsehood is always the most obvious. Dealing with your own is a task of a completely different level. Probably, this is neither good nor bad - after all, each of us lives in a world invented by himself, which is painted and decorated in accordance with personal preferences. One of these decorations was the story for me, which I will tell you about below.

Feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

Pollensa in winter is a sleepy, completely calm, almost empty small town in the east of the island of Mallorca. Old narrow streets, stone houses with worn-out steps of porches and heavy closed shutters - it is not crowded in summer and completely empty in winter. Despite its modest size, the age of this town has passed two millennia. In those distant times, the Romans lived here, and ships from Carthage, Egypt and distant Arab countries entered the Pollensa Bay ... Now the local population is sitting at home, only occasionally making forays into the nearest supermarket, so that then again for weeks not go out on the street. For the winter, only old people remain in Pollens - young people at this time hang out in Palma, the capital of the island, and the periphery plunges into a deep winter torpor.

Feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

There are no tourists in Mallorca in winter, most of the shops are open until the siesta - from about 11 am to 1 pm, many do not open at all - there are no buyers. The weather is conducive to a measured sleepy existence - the Bolear winter is similar to the southern continental autumn - bare trees with remnants of withered foliage, sunny cool days and damp chilly nights. Having become accustomed to this state of affairs, I was quite surprised when, at the end of January, an incomprehensible activity began in the town. It was my first winter on the island of Mallorca - the winter numbness of the island did not interfere in any way with training on the rocks and walking along the fantastic cliffs of the Sierra Tramontana ...

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

And I certainly never imagined that old men and women, the invisible inhabitants of this sleepy kingdom, would suddenly be able to wake up and light up so cool - in the literal and figurative sense of the word! However, let's go in order.

Arriving in Pollensa to dine in a tiny restaurant on the outskirts, I was surprised to find that solid piles of firewood appeared on the streets of the town. Having made an afternoon circle around the city, I noticed these heaps almost everywhere, and some incomprehensible preparations were going on in the main square. There they put a huge woodpile - round, five meters in diameter and three in height, and on top of it they began to erect a statue of papier-mâché, suspiciously similar to a huge devil. Preparations for the holiday were also noticeable in the shop windows - a variety of carnival attributes appeared there - masks of devils, tridents, firecrackers, confetti.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

Finding information on the Internet about the upcoming event turned out to be not so easy - there was nothing in Russian and English, there was not much in Spanish, something was found in Catalan, but I never had this language in my asset, I had to suffer a little figuring out .

Here's what we managed to find out. The Feast of Saint Anthony is a very local event that is celebrated in just four old towns on the island of Mallorca - Pollensa, Arta, Muro and Manacor, at the very end of the Mediterranean winter. The origin of the holiday is rooted in antiquity, where, apparently, it is related to our grandmother with our Maslenitsa. A frankly pagan holiday is adapted to the Catholic way, but by all indications it is older than Christian rites. The holiday is held under the patronage of the Catholic saint - St. Anthony.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

According to the surviving legend, Saint Anthony lived in Egypt in the 3-4th century and became famous for his uncompromising struggle with all sorts of demons. Now he would have been enrolled in Don Quixote, but according to the customs of that time, the war with all sorts of invisible devils was held in high esteem - the memory of the glorious deeds of this ascetic has been preserved to this day in numerous legends and traditions.
In particular, in the feast of St. Anthony, an episode of his battle with the devils is played out. When Saint Anthony tried to find refuge in a cave, a large number of small, but very vicious demons attacked him, which notoriously roused the ascetic. Having decided that Saint Anthony had given up, his friends and servants (the presence of servants did not prevent him from leading an ascetic lifestyle) pulled the body of the sufferer out of the cave. But it turned out that he was alive, full of strength and more cheerful than before. Having come to his senses a little, Saint Anthony again climbed into the cave, and this time he won. The legend speaks of a flash of bright light that frightened and chased away the unclean - it can be assumed that the saint did not weakly drove his head into the ceiling - once I, too, became `` enlightened '', climbing through the old quarries. The bump was about the size of a good flashlight.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

As a result of the events described above, the attributes of the feast of St. Anthony were the fire, the trident confiscated from the demon, and the brazier. The Feast of St. Anthony is celebrated on the night of January 16-17. Every day the preparation for the holiday became more and more widespread. Decorations appeared on the streets, ribbons indicated a restriction on entering the city during two days of the holiday.

Winter on the island is not full of events, so it was completely unacceptable to miss such an event. I arrived in town at about 6 pm on January 16th. The town has changed a lot. The bustle in the streets was very different from the usual measured calm. From somewhere, a huge number of excited local residents of all ages appeared, both old and young were in a state of deep joyful euphoria. The first popping of firecrackers was heard - someone was clearly impatient to start the holiday.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

The sculpture on the square grew to its original size and looked intimidating - a huge horned devil with an impressive trident towered above the tiled roofs of neighboring houses. Both in the center and in the outskirts, restaurants and cafes have awakened to life - in addition to the already mentioned solid supplies of firewood, tables, chairs and numerous braziers have appeared on the streets.

The main action took place on the main square, opposite the Town Hall, where a gigantic devil towered over a huge auto-da-fe, grinning slyly in an unkind grin. The hellish mug was clearly mocking the public's intention to burn it - it's easier to scare a hedgehog with a bare butt than a devil with fire!

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

The holiday began with the onset of darkness - drum rolls rolled through the city, woodpiles flared up one after another at intersections. A hellish train set off through the city - a huge cart harnessed to a tiny farm tractor, full of costumed devils with pipes and drums. Driving through the city, this structure made incredible noise. Constantly lighting flares, the devils provided a real hell for everyone who, for whatever reason, decided not to participate in the holiday. However, I think there were simply no such people in Pollens that night - the roar and flashes would have woken up the dead.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

All restaurants and cafes that looked completely abandoned and useless a week ago suddenly woke up from hibernation. Across the streets were tables decorated with all kinds of snacks. Braziers hissed with hot coals nearby. The establishments seemed to be competing with each other - who had fresher meat, more aromatic cheese and more delicious wine & hellip; and also a variety of vegetables and fruits, meat and fish dishes, steaks, sausages and sausages, which could be immediately fried on a hot brazier. There were healthy barrels of wine next to many restaurants, from which all comers were poured in any quantity of the product of local winemaking.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

The most interesting thing is that all the food on the street was offered to passers-by for free - the signs of restaurants with prices were hung with towels, and only kiosks with firecrackers, masks and confetti were engaged in trade that night.

More and more imbued with the atmosphere of general fun, I wandered around the center of Pollensa, pushing through the crowds of walking and dodging very cheerful mummers who were darting everywhere, humming in their ears and tugging at clothes. Numerous firecrackers thrown by the most active representatives of the younger generation burst underfoot - for this category of citizens the holiday was just ideal - it was possible not to go to bed on time and create any lawlessness available to their age! The parents did not restrict the freedom of the young hooligans in any way - the explosion of the firecracker could be expected at any moment and in the most unexpected place.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

By 11 pm, most of the people gathered in the main square, sitting on benches, steps and stone pedestals around the central auto-da-fe. A carnival train with devils was also driven here. Scattered among the people, they continued to misbehave, gradually forming a wide round dance around the figure of the main devil. The round dance closed, and torches appeared to the drumbeat. A huge woodpile was set on fire from several sides at once, the fire ran merrily along the dry logs, and in a few minutes a huge figure with a trident was completely engulfed in a column of flame. Along with the devil, a dozen posters of clearly political content went into the fiery font, with which activists hung around the foot of the auto-da-fe.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

Most of the slogans related to local relations with the central government and were incomprehensible to me, but kind people did not skimp on explanations. True in Catalan, so I was too lazy to delve deeply into the essence of the issue. Local residents took part in the holiday for 99%. Perhaps that is why it was so difficult to find information about this local festival. The Feast of St. Anthony does not attract the attention of tourists at all - it is held at the very peak of the low season, when there are no foreigners on the island at all. With all the good nature and responsiveness of others, some discomfort happened due to the fact that, (as it sounds ridiculous), no one around spoke Spanish.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

In Mallorca, the influence of Catalonia is quite strongly felt - after all, Barcelona is only 200 km away by sea. As a result of the difficult relationship between the Catalans, to which the residents of Mallorca and the Spaniards rank themselves, the knowledge of Spanish is less welcomed here than even meaningless mooing in English.
It was not superfluous, before going out to party, to spend a few hours familiarizing yourself with basic phrases in Catalan - it worked like a password, and after a few words in Catalan, you could safely move into Spanish without risking getting a rake in the neck. The main thing was to immediately convey to the interlocutor that neither one nor the other languages ​​were native to me.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

It soon became clear that the burning of the main feature was not the end of the holiday, rather it was the culmination of its beginning. After the embers were left from the horned demon, the people rushed to the festive tables. The air was filled with delicious grills and barbecue smells. Having refreshed themselves, the most active part of those walking went to continue the scenario of the holiday, which was becoming more and more similar to the already mentioned Maslenitsa. A wooden post decorated with ribbons was carried along the streets to the accompaniment of drums and pipes - traditionally it is installed on the top of a mountain, and local daredevils climb a tree rubbed with soap to get prizes hung from above.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

Bonfires around the city burned all night, since a lot of firewood was brought in. The festivities continued until the pre-dawn twilight, everyone was having fun from the heart, loudly, brightly and deliciously - and completely sincerely, without animators and presenters, without microphones and loudspeakers.

I was especially pleased with two things: during the whole night of the holiday, I did not see a single drunk, despite the completely free and good wine throughout the city. The second - which especially sunk into the soul - all this funny mess and games with fire took place without any control from the police - there were simply no cops, from the word at all! As well as firefighters, rescuers and other bearers of uniforms, batons and sad expressions on their faces. At the same time, no one fell into the fire, did not fight, did not break anything of value, did not burn anything, except for posters and (in some places) stuffed politicians - this also bothered no one and amused everyone ...

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

Later, evaluating my impressions, I realized that the most valuable thing for me was how natural and relaxed a fairly massive event can be, if there are no `` gifted organizers '' intervening, if this event is not formatted, censored and limited various 'security measures'. Without visible organization, without coercion and prompting, without sponsors, propaganda and intrusive advertising - all these people just came together to create a common, bright and very sincere atmosphere of the holiday. Surprisingly, everything turned out to be so simple - no matter how trite it sounds - the joy and pleasure of life is a natural state of the human psyche, and not a schedule. No matter how they try to convince us otherwise.

Rock climbing and the feast of St. Anthony in Mallorca

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.
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