The Sibil-la being performed in the Cathedral. | Teresa Ayuga


Christmas Eve is when the traditional chant of the Sibil-la is to be heard in churches across Majorca. Declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2010, the song of the Sybil was once banned from churches under the Council of Trent in the mid-sixteenth century. Its vision of the Last Judgement was deemed to be "offensive to God", but in Majorca it took only a dozen years (1575) for it to make a comeback in defiance of the decree. It wasn't until 1692 that it returned, with the express permission of the bishop, to Palma Cathedral, and it took a further almost 300 years (1976) for it to be officially restored to the liturgy. Majorca had, over all this time, been where the tradition was maintained.

Believed to be of Greek origins, the Sibil-la became widespread in mediaeval Catalan lands, the Majorcan version - there were different ones - being one that came from the Provençal dialect of southern France which crossed into Catalan. Following the conquest of Majorca in 1229, it was introduced into the liturgy, there being a fourteenth-century official record of its existence.

The following is a list of times when it will feature in this evening's Matins services. In certain municipalities there are more than the ones listed here, such as Palma. For municipalities not listed, it has not been possible to obtain information.

Alaro, 11pm.
Alcudia, 10.30pm.
Algaida - Randa, 8pm; Algaida, 8.30pm.
Andratx, 11pm.
Arenal, 8pm.
Ariany, 8pm.
Arta, 8pm (parish church) and also at 8.30pm in the Franciscan Convent.
Badia Gran, 7pm.
Banyalbufar, 6.30pm.
Biniali, 6pm.
Binissalem, 7pm.
Buger, 10.30pm.
Bunyola, 7pm.
Cala d'Or, 6pm.
Cala Millor, 8pm.
Cala Ratjada, 7pm.
Calvia, 7.30pm.
Campanet, 8pm.
Campos, 7.30pm.
Can Pastilla, 7.30pm.
Can Picafort, 7.30pm.
Capdepera, 8pm.
Cas Concos, 8.30pm.
Colonia Sant Jordi, 8.30pm.
Colonia Sant Pere, 6pm.
Consell, 7.30pm.
Costitx, 6pm.
El Molinar, 6pm.
Es Capdellà, 6pm.
Esporles, 8pm.
Estellencs, 8pm.
Felanitx (Sant Miquel), 5.30pm.
Fornalutx, 6.30pm.
Galatzó, 6pm.
Galilea, 8pm.
Inca - Santa Maria la Major, 7.30pm; Sant Domingo, 11pm.
Lloseta, 11pm.
Llubi, 6pm.
Lluc Monastery, 10pm.
Llucmajor (Convent de Sant Bonaventura), 8pm.
Manacor - Mare de Déu de Dolors, 8pm; Sant Pau, 7.30pm.
Mancor de la Vall, 7.30pm.
Marratxi - Portol, 8pm; Son Marçal, 7pm.
Montuiri, 8pm.
Muro, 8pm.
Orient, 8pm.
Paguera, 7pm.
Palma - Cathedral, 11pm; Sant Francesc, 11pm; Santa Catalina Thomàs, 11.30pm.
Palmanova, 8pm.
Palmanyola, 6.15pm.
Playa de Muro, 7pm.
Pollensa, 9pm.
Porreres (Oratori Sant Felip Neri), 7pm.
Porto Cristo, 7.30pm.
Portocolom, 7pm.
Puerto Alcudia, 7pm.
Puerto Andratx, 8pm.
Puerto Pollensa, 7pm.
Puerto Soller, 8pm.
Puigpunyent, 11pm.
S'Alqueria Blanca, 8pm.
S'Arraco, 6pm.
Sa Pobla, 7.30pm.
Sa Rapita, 6.30pm.
Sant Joan, 8pm.
Sant Llorenç, 7.30pm.
Santa Eugenia, 8pm.
Santa Margalida, 6pm.
Santa Maria del Cami, 8.30pm.
Santa Ponsa, 6pm.
Santanyi, 6pm.
Selva - Biniamar, 7.30pm; Caimari, 11pm; Selva, 7.30pm.
Sencelles, 8pm.
Ses Salines, 7pm.
S'Illot, 7pm.
Sineu, 8.30pm.
Soller (Sant Bartomeu), 10.30pm.
Son Serra de Marina, 8.30pm.
Son Servera, 6pm.
Valldemossa, 7.30pm.
Vilafranca, 7.30pm.