September marks the last month of the summer and also the final month of the traditional summer fiestas in Menorca. The season’s fiesta finale centres around the Feast of the Patron Saint of the island’s capital Mahon. ‘Festes de la Mare de Deu de Gràcia’ loosely translates to the ‘Feast of the Graceful Mother of God’, and just like the other town festivals beforehand the official and unofficial fiesta acts transpire over several days with a specific protocol of events.
But during September there are traditional fiesta events on each weekend at the eastern end of the island so if you are looking to get caught up in the spirit of the local lifestyle in the most authentic Menorcan way, then the town fiestas are the way to experience it the best.
September Menorcan Fiesta Highlights:
SANT LLUÏSET DE SANT LLUÏS, 2 – 3 SEPTEMBER
The first weekend in September hosts the final events for the town fiestas of Sant Lluis, the Patron Saint Louis who shares the town’s name. The previous final weekend in August sees the main acts of the first whistle and drum ‘Primer Toc’, the Cavalcade of horses through the town ’ Sa Colcada’, the ‘Jaleo’ with the band, music and revelry where the horses congregate with the people of the town, the Missa de Caixers, which is the official Mass and the parade of the Giants ‘Desfilada del Gegants’.
The final acts on this last weekend known as Sant Lluïset (Little Sanit Louis) there is another Jaleo with the horses and a musical concert on the evening of the 2nd of September, followed by a paella competition on Sunday 3rd of September.
See the local council website for more information:
FESTES DE GRACIA DE MAÓ, 1 – 9 SEPTEMBER
As mentioned above the fiestas of the capital of Menorca in Maó (Mahon) start on the first of the month when there are events taking place each evening. The main protocol of events take place from the 6th – 9th September all day. Here are some of the key events for each day:
4th September 16.30 – 17.30 – Giants in the Streets. ‘Sortida de Gegants’
The traditional giants can be found in the streets around the centre of Mahon, culminating in the Plaza des Trianon.
5th September 19.00 – 21.30h (approx) – Musical groups in the Streets. ‘Sortida dels Cantaires’
The musical groups make various stops around the centre of town starting in Bar Infanta and finishing in the square in front of the Town Hall at 9.30pm.
6th September 18.00 – 23.00 – Giants Parade, First Flute & Drum,
First Outing of the Horses.
18.00 – Parade of the Giants starts ‘ Passacarrers dels Gegants’ – Plaça de la Miranda – 2 hours
20.00 – Town Band Concert followed by Prayer – Plaça de la Constitució – 1h 45mins
21.45 – First Flute & Drum ‘Primer Toc’ & Hymn – Plaça de la Constitució – 15 mins
22.00 – Arrival of the Horse ‘ Sortida del Cavall’ – Plaça de la Constitució
7th September known as ‘Dissabte de Gràcia’ – Saturday or Eve of Grace
16.00 – First Flute & Drum ‘Primer Toc’ – Plaça de la Constitució
Ringing of the Bells & Mascletada – Plaça de la Constitució
16.15 – Parade of the Giants starts ‘ Sortida dels Gegants – Centre of Maó/Mahon
16.30 – Collecting of the Flag & Start of the Gathering of the Horses
‘Lliurament de la bandera’ i ‘Inici del Replec’
This will take as long as it takes (approx 45 mins) till all the horses are collected around town
and file into order within the cavalcade of horses followed by a passing of the cavalcade to
different points in the centre of town.
19.00 – Mass ‘Missa de Solemnes Completes’ – Ermita de Gràcia
21.00 – ‘Jaleo i Caragol’ – Plaça de la Constitució
This is the main event of the day where all the horses mix with the townspeople and they loop
around the main square whilst the town band plays the fiesta theme song.
As with all the fiestas, maximum care is to be taken and keep your distance from the horses!
8th September known as ‘Día de Gràcia’ – Feast Day of Grace
The sequence of events is similar to the previous day. Here are the highlights:
7.50 – Collecting of the Flag & Start of the Gathering of the Horses
‘Lliurament de la bandera’ i ‘Inici del Replec’
8.20 – Start of the Cavalcade of Horses ’Sortida de la Colcada’– Plaça de la Conquesta
8.40 – Incorporation of the statue of the Graceful Mother of God in the parade
‘La Mare de Déu de Gràcia’, followed by the giants at 9.00.
11.00 – Mass ’Missa de Caixers’ – Eglésia de Santa Maria
13.00 – ‘Jaleo’ – Plaça de la Constitució
16.00 – Singing of Fiesta songs ‘Cant del Volem vi’ – Plaça de la Constitució
18.45 (approx) – Cavalcade ‘Cap es Cós’, followed by ‘Corregudes’ – Cós de Gràcia 19.15 (approx).
The cavalcade laps the central area of the town in the area of Cós de Gràcia.
20.30 (approx) – Final lap of the Cavalcade in the evening ‘Darrer Caragol’ – Centre streets of Maó
21.30 (approx) – Last Flute & Drum ‘Darrer Toc de Fabiol’
9TH OF SEPTEMBER- ‘SEGONA FESTA DE GRÀCIA’ – SECOND FEAST OF GRACE
19.00 – ‘Baixada al port dels Gegants’ – Ajuntament de Maó
The Band of Music and the Giants leave the Town Hall and make their way down to the Port
20.00 – Music in the Port from 8pm – Paisseg del Port
23.30 – Fireworks in the Port
More information can be found on the council website
FESTA DE SANT NICOLAU ES MERCADAL, 15 – 17 SEPTEMBER
The final official fiesta and event of the Menorcan summer festival season is the Feast of Saint Nicolas which is held in mid-September in Es Mercadal and culminates in the only mountain of Menorca in the very centre of the island, Monte Toro. Attending this event are riders that represent all the towns of the island, in 2022 there were 47 riders as indicated by the island’s newspaper, Es Diari Menorca.
Here is a schedule of the main acts each day:
15th September 22.00 – Musical Groups – Plaça Constitució, Es Mercadal
16th of September- Vigília de Sant Nicolau – The Eve of Saint Nicolas
In the evening from 5.00pm, the first set of protocols for the fiesta starts with the ringing of the bells of the church of Saint Martin in the centre of Es Mercadal, followed by the Giants in the streets, the first flute & drum, the gathering of the horses, the ‘Jaleo’ with the horses and the band, a mass and street celebrations. All in the centre of Es Mercadal.
17.00 – Ringing of the Bells ‘Repic de Campanes’ – Eglesia Sant Martí, Es Mercadal
Giants of Es Mercadal take to the streets – Es Gegants d’s Mercadal
18.00 – First Flute & Drum ‘Primer Toc des Fabiol’ & ‘Replec’ Gathering of the Horses
19.00 – Jaleo – Plaça Constitució, Es Mercadal, followed by Mass
22.30 (approx) – Street celebrations, Es Mercadal
17th of September – ‘Día de Sant Nicolau’ – Day of Sant Nicolas
In the final official act of the summer season of Patron Saint celebrations, on the final morning, the final first flute & drum is heard, followed by the gathering of the horses that each represent the different towns of Menorca, they then head up the only mountain in the centre of Menorca, Monte Toro, for a mass and a final ‘Jaleo’ with the band and townspeople to close the season for the year.
9.00 – First Flute & Drum ‘Primer Toc des Fabiol’ & Replec Gathering of the horses
10.00 – The cavalcade starts the climb of Monte Toro ‘Pujada al Toro’ – Monte Toro, Es Mercadal
11.00 – Mass ‘Missa de Caixers’ – Santuari Mare de Déu del Toro – Monte Toro, Es Mercadal
12.00 (approx) – The Final official ‘Jaleo’ of the festival season – Monte Toro, Es Mercadal
Following the final Jaleo, the cavalcade comes down the mountain, the ‘Darrer Toc’ final flute and drum is heard and in the evening there are more musical acts in Es Mercadal.
To read more about the celebration from 2022, take a look at the article written last year in Es Diari.
JALEO – FESTA DE CALA’N PORTER ALAIOR, 16 – 17 SEPTEMBER
In addition to the traditional town fiestas that date back centuries, the coastal town of Cala’n Porter added its own celebration on the beach in the final month of the summer, starting in 1974. It is unique in the sense that apart from Fornells it is the only coastal village that hosts a fiesta, and is the only Jaleo celebrated on the beach!
JALEO – FESTA DES CAIXERS ALAIOR, 22 – 24 SEPTEMBER
In the last celebration to farewell the summer, Alaior hosts one final ‘Jaleo’ mainly for the locals of all ages who were unable to participate in their official celebration of Saint”””””” Lawrence in the height of August. At the end of September the temperatures are more tolerable and the island less crowded, the ‘Jaleo’ of the Horserider’s Fiesta dates back to 1906 and is reminiscent of the time when Menorcan fiestas were full of mostly locals, enjoying their town, neighbourhood and traditions the way they always have.
For more information on either the Jaleo of Cala’n Porter or Alaior in September visit the local council’s website: https://www.visitalaior.com/es/que-hacer/cultura-y-fiestas
And so, as the locals say at the end of each fiesta, and finally at the end of September…
´Fins l’any qui ve si deu vol´, which means, ‘Until next year if god wishes it.’
THE PRIVILEGE TO PARTICIPATE LIKE A LOCAL
One final personal comment from me based on my experience:
Learning about each of Menorca’s town fiestas and coming to appreciate them as the locals do is a privilege and a journey. As someone who was not born here, I have learned so much from the locals who have been generous in their sharing, as well as books and online platforms that do a fantastic ongoing job of honouring the fiestas, each in their own way, and the townspeople that play their part to make them happen year after year. Above all these, are fiestas that are held in honour of the Patron Saint and the people of each town. They are not designed and organised to be tourist attractions although they have come to be so because they are so special and memorable.
On that note, I would like to acknowledge a website that is hosted and run by a team of anonymous locals from across the island who have created an incredible resource for all the fiestas of Menorca since 2008. FiestasMenorca.es is a website in Spanish that has been helpful to me in filling in the gaps of times and places for different events when I did not know the details for every event in every town. I highly recommend returning to this website specifically in the future if you would like details of dates and times for any of the fiestas that you can’t find here on MenorcaBlue.com.
To the team behind Fiestas Menorca, muchas gracias!