A City Bathed in Flames…

18 Jan

Without a doubt, the festival of San Sebastian was the most memorable cultural happening I experienced last year living on this island. Going into the event I expected little more than children wearing costumes and the scanty use  of shoddy firecrackers. Little did I know that I’d soon be in the midst of a renaissance depiction of the depths of hell.

I began the night strolling along Autovia Gabriel with a group of friends and countless spectactors until arriving at Plaza de Tortugas. Suddenly, what appeared to be demons leading around blazing parade floats and effigies emerged from the woodwork and began darting around wielding long poles that sprayed sparks in all directions. People from the crowd began to  gather under these massive sparkler rods jumping up and down with the fiendish hellions like something reminiscent of a primitive, ancient ritual and the inebriated enthusiasm one might find in a frat party.  Taking into account the  unruly nature of these correfoc-goers and the fact that flames are constantly flying through the mob, I don’t recommend showing up to this event scantily clad. Más ropa equivale más protección. To add to the recklessness, it seemed that every few minutes I would come across a senior citizen hobbling about with a cane or a young mother wheeling along a baby stroller through the chaotic procession of fire as though it were just like any other day-to-day task. After meandering through this warlike atmosphere for about 20 minutes I found myself conglomerated into a dense crowd across the lake at Park del Mar. From here the masses all seemed to be transfixed on the catedral, which was illuminated by an intense, red glow. Just when I began to get antsy, brilliant fireworks in sync with classical music filled the heavens in a display that I hoped would go on for hours. But best of all, this was only the begginning of an evening that had no desire to end. The streets remained congested late into the night with both humans and demons united under the common bond of dissipation. If there is one cultural phenomenon to bear witness to in Mallorca, it’s this event.

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