by Staff Reporter
THE ending was never in doubt, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of Pollensa residents who took an active part in the mock battle which took place through the narrow streets yesterday evening.

Nor did it spoil the enjoyment of the hundreds of visitors who lined the street to watch local hero Joan Mas lead the townspeople to victory as they fought off a raid spearheaded by the feared Turkish pirate Dragut.

This is a noisy re-enactment of a real raid which took place in 1550, when the pirate forces tried to raid the town in the middle of the night.
The defenders rushed out to fight for their homes in their nightclothes, which is why today they are all dressed in white, while the pirates have much more colourful costumes.

The pirates numbered 1'500 and were guided to the town by a renegade. But although they were far superior in numbers, the townspeople fought them off.
Dragut survived the raid, and eventually became governor of Tripoli.
The people who play the main characters, Joan Mas and Dragut, are chosen in an election and spend a considerable amount of time drawing up their teams and rehearsing, so that the battle scene is as convincing as possible.

The tradition is believed to have started in the mid-19th century and goes from strength to strength, particularly in recent years.


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