The Blauets choir school at Lluc. | M. À. Cañellas


The increase of COVID-19 infections in recent weeks has seriously affected the sanctuary of Lluc, with many people cancelling reservations to spend Christmas at the sanctuary. Five days before Christmas Eve, sources at Lluc confirm that occupancy is below 50 percent due to the cancellations, at the beginning of the month the rate of reservations was good and the forecast was to have good figures. Pre-pandemic spending a few days at Lluc during the Christmas holidays was a well-established tradition in Mallorca and the sanctuary was always at full capacity.

"We are at half capacity due to the cancellations of the last few days; we were very happy because in November and early December we were seeing a recovery, many families have visited us, many of them with children and there were celebrations; but now prudence prevails," said the prior of Lluc, Marià Gastaler. The sanctuary has health safety measures in all its facilities, but even so many families have decided to cancel their stay during the Christmas and New Year's holidays, waiting for the evolution of the "sixth wave".

So for the second consecutive year the Matines or Misa del Gallo (Midnight Mass) will be held behind closed doors exclusively for the Blauets and their families, to avoid crowds. "Those who want to enjoy the Cant de la Sibil-la and Matines will be able to follow them live from the Facebook profile of the Santuari de Lluc, we have to be prudent and they cannot be open to the public," says the director of the School, Joan Comas.

Also the visiting the Moreneta (the Black Madonna) has undergone changes since the health crisis broke out, in February 2020. Access to the Cambril de la Mare de Déu de Lluc remains closed, to avoid queues and physical contact with the pedestal where the statue resides.

"The Mare de Déu is turned towards the interior of the basilica and many Mallorcans venerate her from that distance, in a climate of much prayer," said the prior, recognising the changes that the health crisis has forced to impose on traditions, including religious ones.