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carnaval tormentaThe office of local holidays of the Formentera Council has suspended today's Carnival celebrations due to rough weather conditions. «If weather permits, Carnival will be held next Sunday 14 February», declared the CiF's councillor of culture, Susana Labrador, who lamented having to postpone the popular gathering. «We hope everyone will come out next week, despite the extra effort involved», she said, encouraging all who had prepared fancy dress costumes to hold onto them. «We'll try again next Sunday», the councillor promised.

Carnival 2016 crowds promised an eyeful

RP Carnaval 2016Earlier today the Formentera Council department of culture and local holidays unveiled the activities programme for the 2016 Carnival celebrations. Slated to take place Sunday 7 February, this year's procession is unique because it will wind through Sant Francesc, though, as department head Susana Labrador points out: «The goal is for the Carnival festivities to rotate across the different towns on a yearly basis».

Everyone participating in the fancy dress competition is asked to gather at 11 a.m. at the Sa Senieta parking lot, where signups will take place. At 12 noon parade walkers will set out on their circuit helped along by the tunes of local band ALLSEX. Processionists will head down avinguda del Pla del Rei, then, turning right, continue along carrer d'Eivissa until reaching plaça de la Constitució. They will then travel down carrer Jaume I, hang left onto carrer Marc Ferrer and finally turn left again onto carrer Santa Maria. The parade will then finish in plaça de la Constitució.

Anyone in fancy dress can take part in the running for best costume, and different cash prizes are available. Councillor Labrador heralded a new addition to this year's contest: a family costume category aimed at encouraging Formentera families to come out in style together.

Adult individual
First prize €200
Second prize €150
Kids individual
First prize €100
Second prize €60
First €300
Second €200
First prize €300
Second prize €200
Small groups [three to ten people]
First prize €400
Second prize €250
Comparsa [more than ten people]
First prize €500
Second prize €350
Floats [with vehicle]
First prize €950
Second prize €650

Once the Carnival processionists have finished the march loop, emceeing duties will be handed over to DJ Pharma, who is sure to get young and old dancing in record time - «this day is all about the fancy dress participants», summed up the cultural department's staff specialist Verònica Arenas.

The lunch bell rings will ring at 2 p.m. and this year's post-parade feast will be handled by the Sant Francesc school's parent-teacher association (APIME), which has promised a free lunch to everyone who comes dressed up. In the words of Councillor Labrador: «Carnival is always such an exciting event. What we really want is to see a big resident turnout at the festivities».

More activities

With the Carnival holiday come a host of other activities. Thursday 4 February a children's costume workshop will be held in the Villangomez library. The local youth centre – el Casal de Joves – has organised a series of activities for young people of the island: on Thursday and Friday afternoon, two mask-making workshops. Also that Friday, at 10 a.m., children of the Verge Miraculosa school will lead their own Carnival celebration in the Sant Francesc town square.

Pi des Català tower closed January and February

torre des pi des catala interiorThe Pi des Català tower (la torre des Pi des Català) will be closed this month and next to allow holiday time-off for staff. From March the site will be reopened to the public every Saturday morning from ten a.m. to one midday, as was the case in October and December. According to the CiF councillor of patrimony, Susana Labrador, «after seeing the public’s response last summer» – when the tower was open Thursday afternoons from five to seven – «the decision was made to extend public visiting hours into winter, with a slight change». Looking ahead, Councillor Labrador says after the break the intention is «to reopen the tower so more people can continue discovering this important local heritage site».

First tower with access to inside chambers

After a recent remodel, Pi des Català became the first tower on Formentera to allow public visits of its inner chambers. It is classified as a monument on Formentera’s list of cultural heritage sites. Constructed between 1762 and 1763, it is one of four defence towers on the island. Until 1867 the buildings were used both for defence and – more often – as watchtowers.

Taking the music of Formentera to Barcelona audiences

Nits-de-Formentera Elena-Marco foto actuació Sala Cultura Formentera copiaNext Friday, 29 January, the Centre Artesà Tradicionàrius in Barcelona will host Nits de Formentera, a show which brings together the best that the Formentera music has to offer. Susana Labrador, the CiF's councillor of culture, read through a list of performers that included local musicians Aires Formenterencs, Imaràntia, Caramelles de Formentera and Xumeu Joan. Labrador underscored the significance of the opportunity «for our artists to take their art to a major hub in the world of Catalan music».

The concert is included in the programming for the 29th Tradicionàrius folk festival as well as Caps de Setmana de les Illes, a weekend event dedicated to the Balearic Islands. Caps de Setmana will also feature Sant Antoni bonfires in the Gràcia neighbourhood, a sampling of Majorcan products and a demonstration of 'ball de bot' dancing. All the events are organised by the Institut Estudis Baleàrics and the Govern Balear's regional ministry of culture. The Formentera Council has also contributed by covering travel expenses for the musicians.

Over the course of the three-month festival some fifty events and concerts are set to take place, with more than sixty groups and artists taking part. Nits de Formentera was previously given 18 December at the Sant Francesc cinema and in November at the Mar i Terra theatre of Mallorca.

Tickets can be reserved at tramcat@tradicionarius.cat or by calling 932184485.

10 p.m. - concert and 'ball de bot' dance
Door: 10 € / Pre-sale tickets: 8 €

Three Kings of the Orient stop by Formentera

regals reis foto

As every year, their Majesties the Three Kings of the Orient will pull up in the port of la Savina tomorrow, 5 January, at 4:30 p.m. Travelling by boat, their Highnesses will be joined by their page boys and a royal commission. The entire cavalcade of decked out sleighs will then make its way across the entire island.

The' route will start in la Savina and then take the kings up to Sant Francesc by way of the main road. From the edge of town, they will mount Jaume I street (carrer Jaume I) and set their sights on the Constitució square (plaça de la Constitució) where, once arrived, the three monarchs will enter the Sant Francesc Xavier church. Then, on their way out, the kings will hurry across the plaza and take their places on the balcony of the Formentera Island Council (CiF) alongside CiF vicepresident Susana Labrador. From their perch, they will give a warm Christmas greeting to the people below.

The men will continue their trek and meander down the main highway toward Sant Ferran. Once in town, they will take Sant Jaume street (carrer Sant Jaume) up to the town plaza and head into the church to heap praise upon the baby Jesus. All those hoping to catch a glimpse of the Three Kings will get their chance if they wait in the tent set up on the square. The children of Sant Ferran will also be able to pick up their gifts.

The longest part of their journey still ahead of them, the parade will carry on on the main road until reaching la Mola. They will descend the avenue toward the plaza of the El Pilar church and finish up warm and toasty inside, handing out presents to the kids of la Mola.

The boys and girls of Sant Francesc will have to wait until Wednesday, 6 January, to get their presents from the Three Kings. That gift-giving session will take place at the nursery school (Ca ses Monges) once Kings' Mass (Missa de Reis) has finished. Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Sant Francesc Xavier church.

Travelling entertainment

To the delight of children all over, the procession will have its own entertainment programme in tow: the Naïf show will be put on in la Savina and Sant Francesc while kids await the arrival of the kings. On the heels of a successful run last year, Circ Bover has prepared another show full of joy, enthusiasm and colour for this year's audiences. Stilt-walkers, jugglers, acrobats and clowns will no doubt be just a part of Circ Bover's delirious festival.

Formentera is glad to welcome back their Majesties the Kings of the Orient for another Three Kings Day full of magic and gifts. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who plays a part in making the visit possible: the different Formentera parishes, child volunteers, the youth centre (Casal de Joves), Fusteria Quintanilla, Fusteria Formentera, Trasmapi, Fundació Baleària, Pitiüsa Sud, Frutos Secos Ibiza, Carbòniques Tur and the entire crew of the Formentera Island Council.

Approximative time table for the arrival of the Three Kings of the Orient tomorrow, 5 January:

La Savina 4:30 p.m.
Sant Francesc 6 p.m.
Sant Ferran 7 p.m.
El Pilar de la Mola 8:30 p.m.

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