The town of Sóller celebrates its most popular festival in May. This is the Fires i Festes de Maig, many days of festivities during which the role of the “Valentes dones” (Brave women) is recalled. The festival is celebrated from the 30th April to 9th May.
In the 16th Century, the coast of Majorca underwent one of the worst moments in its history. In Sóller, at the foot of a valley of the majestic Sierra de Tramuntana, the raids by pirates were constant and the population lived in fear of being plundered again. According to legend, on the 11th May 1561 pirates arrived at the coast and entered the house of the sisters Catalina and Francisca Casesnoves. Far from being terrified, they took the bar which was used for barring the door and managed to kill the corsairs with it, contributing to the town’s victory.
This bar is still preserved and takes part in the commemoration of the event: it is exhibited in the parades and presides over the acts of the programme, although the leading characters are the “Valentes dones”, represented each year by two girls from Sóller who are chosen by the “Group of Moors, countrymen and countrywomen”.
Staging of the battle
The festival begins on Friday with the reading of the opening speech of the fiestas and the investiture of the “Valentes dones”. On Saturday afternoon, a floral offering is made to the Virgin of Victory, which is taken from the Oratory to the Parish church, and on Sunday an interesting craft fair is held.
The day with the fullest programme is next Monday. In the morning a mass is conducted in the house where the Casesnoves sisters lived and in the afternoon the Firó de Sóller takes place, this being the most spectacular event. In it, 1,200 people stage the battle of 1561 acting as countrymen, countrywomen and pirates. Gunpowder also flows freely; 25,000 cartridges and 60 kg of black gunpowder for the blunderbusses are used.
The festival is celebrated from the 30th April to 9th May. You can get to Sóller by taking the C-711 road or through the tunnel which crosses the mountains. A good idea is to use the Sóller train, a wooden train which takes you through some beautiful scenery.
For more information: www.sollernet.com/