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Diada del Poble de Menorca

Or Menorca Day

Menorca BritanniaIt seems that some people are confused or entirely unaware of Menorca Day. I have compiled the following facts, as I understand them, in reference to the
Diada del Poble de Menorca
Menorca Day
Perhaps this can best be likened to St. George’s Day of England or of St. Andrew, St. David, and St. Patrick of Scotland, Wales and Ireland respectively.
The Patron Saint of Menorca is St. Antoni Abad. (Anthony the Great or Anthony the Abbot)

Saint Antonio Saint Antonio (Anthony) Abad was born in Lower Egypt in the year 231 A.D. and died at the age of 105 on the 17th January, 356 A.D. His parents were wealthy landowners and died when he was about 18 leaving him the estates and he worked the family land husbanding the animals until at the age of around 34 he sold everything and gave the proceeds to the poor, left his home in Lower Egypt and, following the words of Jesus, he himself became a disciple and hermit. St. Antoni is the protector of Animals and, amongst others. Patron of those inflicted with infirmities such as lepers, amputees, epilepsy, eczema and diseases of the skin in general.

St. Antonio has been Patron Saint of Menorca since 1287 because it was on 17th. January of that year (Fiesta of Saint Antoni) that Alfonso 111 of Aragon held a Mass of thanksgiving after defeating the Arabs after 400 years of their domination of Menorca.

As far as I am aware the Fiesta of St. Antoni has been celebrated every year since. However the Diada only dates back to 1987. This was the 700th. anniversary of the defeat of the Arabs and was commemorated by the institutions, Consell Insular and Ayuntamientos throughout the island. One of the acts that day 17th. January 1987 was the dedication of the monument at the head of Avenida Fort de Leau (commonly known by us British as “THE RUSTY ROUNDABOUT”) to honour the last Arab governor defeated by Alfonso--- Abû ‘Umar ibn Sa’id. Having signed a peace agreement with Alfonso, Abû ‘Umar together with some 200 of his survivors were given safe passage to north Africa on board a Genoese ship but this encountered a storm and sank with no survivors.

As well as the religious events which traditionally take place during the DIADA is the
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS

Blessing of the animals Menorca spain

Tres Tocs Ciutadella MenorcaThe “TRES TOCS” of Ciutadella, I have been given to understand, represents the time when Alfonso travelled from Mahón to Ciutadella (the Arabs had called the town Medina Menurka) which was a walled city and he knocked on the gates with his staff to be allowed access by the citizens. The ceremony is re-enacted each year but using the mark on the pavement where the gates once stood.

The procession “Els Tres Tocs” in Ciutadella is always attended by a multitude of citizens.
Other activities include a variety of sporting events and, since the arrival of residents from all the other regions of Spain (all of which will have a town or village with Sant Antoni as their patron saint), a variety of different regional pastries are produced and enjoyed as well as those typically of Menorca
These are just a few words which briefly illustrate the acts of the Diada. Of the actual word DIADA there appears to be no actual English translation that I have discovered.
I finally add that the description given is from my own personal knowledge on the subject and may not be entirely accurate in all details. However I just hope that they help a little in your understanding of another aspect of the “colourful” Menorquin traditions.


Bryce Lyons
For Asociación Menorca Britannia

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