A CLOUDY start to the morning last Wednesday failed to put a damper on the annual celebration of Majorca's Festival of the Standard which pays tribute to the day in 1229 when Aragonese King Jaume I freed the island from hundreds of years of Moorish occupation.
The rituals of the ceremony itself have its roots in the beginning of the 14th century although its current format is much more recent, dating back only to the last century. Furthermore since 2006 the festival has been divided into three parts, as opposed to two. On 29th December, an address paying homage to the Aragonese conqueror and highlighting the consequences of liberation for the islands over the centuries is read by local authorities to assembled dignitaries and members of the public; on the 30th, a floral offering is made to the statuesque figure of the king on horseback in Plaza España, and on New Year's Eve, the Majorcan Standard is erected at the City Hall in Plaza Cort, in Palma's historic centre. For the past 15 years now, it has been the custom for local authorities and members of the public to enjoy hot chocolate and ensaimadas in front of City Hall.