The New Year Statistics are rolling in and must be balanced by proper comparisons and explanations. The drop in Church attendance is the subject of one study yet the Soller Churches would dispute any claims on this one, as their attendances were good over Christmas. The stats on observing the Village traditions were interesting too. Fornalutx and Deia have more English speakers on their town stats, but their traditional Mallorcan observances and traditions were highly attended by all the people who live there.

In Soller we have population of around 14,000 people. At any event or gathering in Soller Square, except for Firo, the maximum attendance is around 3,000 for a very busy party night. At Firo they put a maximum number of around 6000 who can gather for the final event. Many of those people are not local and come from all over the island.

My point is that proportionately, it is only a minority who are holding the community together at any one time. The work the Town Hall does in this regard cannot be underestimated. Soller has two offices which deal with events. One is for cultural events and the other for commercial. To keep tradition alive and work for the greater good of the commercial enterprises of the area is a political undertaking and represented in election manifestos at grass roots levels.

For those of us who have been here twenty years or more we have many comparisons of ‘how things used to be’ on events and occasions. The reducing involvement of the community is obvious on some significant dates.

Some of this is accounted for by the aging of a generation who worked so very hard on communal events. The next question being asked is who is moving into the Soller Valley and are they likely to be part of the community events of the future? Statistically the latest incomers have not made their prescence felt at all. In fact, some of them give local celebrations a wide berth and head for the larger offerings in Palma.

This subject has caused some chattering amongst those who care about the future observances of events. Since the Soller Tunnel became free and the buses doubled their frequency many have moved here. They are largely commuters who work, shop and socialise in Palma. They love the beauty of the Soller Valley and love their fine houses and pools, but do they live here?

In all this, the maths are used to work out the services the people who pay their IBI here want. The Town Hall must balance this with the encouragement of tourists, day trippers and internet nomads who live amongst us in the year. The balance between the needs and rights of residents and the commercial interest of the Valley must be always balanced.

Sollerweb receive a very mixed post bag on these questions. Over Christmas we were being asked where a Christmas Mass was taking place at midnight on Christmas Eve. The answer was – nowhere in the Soller Valley. The Christmas Eve services were 7pm in Soller and slightly later in the other Churches of the valley. This decision was made by the Church to look after its faithful. Visitors, however wanted this as a midnight mass tourist experience with the singing of La Sibilla.

In similar vein tourists and visitors arriving for the Christmas period wanted a full list of restaurants open and a choice of dinner venues. Try as we might at Sollerweb getting that information was like getting blood out of a stone. Some restaurants were perfect and gave us information in good time. others couldn’t decide if they were going to open or not.

The working life of a Town Hall balancing the needs of residents and tourists is tricky. Some political parties manage this better than others. The volunteer life of a community who wants regular celebrations of Solleric life is a situation under the spotlight. Fortunately, as we saw in the summer, the local Fiestas are receiving an injection of the young people of the area. L’horta is one to watch as their young people did a tremendous job last year.

Tradition is too entrenched here for these significant dates not to be celebrated. ‘Volunteers please’, will be the battle cry for 2023…