As you read this in print today, we will be doing ‘all things Soller Fira and Firo 2023’. Five days of Soller being the ‘epicentre’ of Mallorca. The Moors and Christians battle it out on the beaches and in Soller square on Monday 15 but before that, we have the Fira. A full programme of Soller events and observances which are of equal importance in the eyes of the Solleric. We are celebrating the battle of 1561 when pirates were the bane of the Mediterranean. Watchtowers were built all round Mallorca so that the warning could be given as the pirate ships approached. Hide the church gold, lock up the women and then head for the sea to repel the invaders with your slings and stones. An odd gun or two wouldn’t go amiss either. The women of Soller (the Valient Dones) wouldn’t be locked up and played an integral part in the victory. We love Valiant women in the Soller Valley – they are very welcome.
What does this fiesta mean to Soller? A question often asked by newcomers to the Valley. The passion and the sentiment here is difficult to put into words as Sollerics seem to have been born with it in their blood. Sollerics who now live far away in other lands return for this occasion regularly. Soller fills to overflowing with its returning children as they take over large tables in restaurants for home coming gatherings. Local children have a two-day holiday from school for the occasion and the excitement builds.
The fair comes to town as the main car park becomes a fairground complete with candyfloss and baby rides. Normal clothes are swapped for traditional dresses, and these are often worn ‘just because it’s the Firo week’. New babies have beautiful Firo clothes made which will then be kept for the next generation. This is traditional workmanship at its finest.
Snails are the dish of the day and cooked to age old recipes. All the local restaurants will be cooking vats of them every day through the Firo season. Guns and gunpowder are a feature of the final battle and have to be approved. In the case of gunpowder ordered in advance.
Music, what about the music I hear some of you ask? Live music nights in the square over the weekend goes on until the early hours. The final music rendition at the end of the battle on Monday, will be the greatest communal singing of the Balanguera. This is the anthem of Mallorca and means so much to so many especially when it is sung in a crowd.
IB3 local television always film the final battle and the event is shown around Mallorca and on the news in the rest of Spain. This is such a special event that security over the years has been tightened. 8000 people in the square, guns, gunpowder and mayhem could be a cause for concern. Free Wristbands control the numbers into the square for the final battle and this is taken very seriously by the Police. No wristband, no entry. So much happens in Soller over these days. Art and book launches, a flower show at the museum, sports matches, live music, traditional dancing and singing and the Soller main square becoming the centre of the universe. The fun fair, food trucks and market stalls add to the atmosphere as the Soller Firo rolls into town for another year.
Personally, I love the opening ceremony in the Church, which happened last night. The costumes and the welcome for those taking part as the historical people was a great spectacle, which set the scene for all that is to come. This was followed by local musicians and dancing which is a great atmosphere to be part of.
You won’t get a wristband now, but you are welcome to join in everything else. Sollerweb have translated the programme into English, and you can find it on their website.
Have a great Firo friends! Viva Soller…
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