Something not to be missed are the local fiestas on the island. They are celebrated in all the towns of Menorca and have as their star performers the famous black menorcan horses.
At the “top of the bill” is the Sant Joan fiesta in Ciutadella, well known throughout the world and with a large following of visitors.
This is celebrated on the 23rd and 24th June, however, the atmosphere starts warming up from the previous Sunday when “the day of the lamb”, (día des bé) is celebrated.
After a sleepless night, at exactly nine o´clock, following tradition, there is the first “toc de fabiol”, (first sound of the wooden flute), which takes place in the palace of the rider representing the noble families, the “caixer senyor”. Then, throughout the day, the Official Commitee go round the historic centre of Ciutadella, visiting the Town Hall, the Episcopal Palace, Foc y Fum, social associations, the noble families´ houses, and the homes of the other riders. These visits are in order to invite them to the fiesta of Sant Joan.
The most colourful person who can only be seen on this day, once every year, and is accompanied by the riders commitee is the “Homo des Be”, a man dressed in sheep skin, without shoes and with crossed painted on his arms and feet, who carries a sheep, decorated with ribbons across his shoulders.Throughout these days the streets are covered with sand as the main event are the riders (Caixers) who, dressed in black and white, represent the nobles, craftsmen, countrymen and the church, all mounted on horses adorned with ribbons and mirrors.
The main fiesta starts on 23rd June at 2 pm. and is the most popular, crowded and emotional event of the whole thing. In the middle of the heat, both locals and visitor alike wait for the fiesta to begin in an atmosphere that is nothing short of electric.
In the palace of the Caixer Senyor, the flute player publically asks him if he can begin to collect all the other riders.
So as in other fiestas the expression “jaleo”, is used for the fiesta activities, in Ciutadella, they are “caragols”: Caragol des Born, caragol de Santa Clara.
On the 24th, one of the most important events is “Els Jocs des Pla”, (the games in the Square) These games are one of the most spectactular parts of the fiesta, and some of the most experienced riders take part. They consist of three tests of the riders´ ability: “Ensortilla” a game of acuracy. “Romper las Carotas” a game played in pairs, and ”Correr Abrazadas”, where two riders race together while embracing.
Finally, to say goodbye to the fiesta, the last “toc de fabiol” ( notes of the flute) which takes place in the early hours of the morning of the 24th June, and the final magnicent spectacle of the firework display.
Something worth mentioning is the gin. This local drink is mixed with lemonade, and is the typical drink of the fiestas. It is known as “Pomada” or gin with lemon.