The Cant de la Sibilla
About the Gregorian Chant
The chant of the Sybil is performed at Mass on the night of 24 December in Churches throughout Mallorca. The chant marks the annual Christmas Vigil, and is sung by a boy or girl accompanied by two or more altar boys or girls. During the chant they walk through the church towards the chancel, the singer carrying a sword in his or her hands, held upright in front of the face, while the altar boys or girls carry candles. At the end of the song a cross is drawn in the air with the sword. The versions of the chant performed on the island vary little from their Gregorian roots: each is sung a cappella with music between the verses provided by an organ. The costume worn by the singers usually consists of a white or coloured tunic, sometimes embroidered around the neck and hem, and often worn with a cape. The head is covered with a cap of the same colour as the tunic. The rite involves all the church parishes on Majorca with old and young generations working side-by-side as singers, costume-makers, celebrants and other helpers, thus ensuring its transmission.
The uniqueness and historic ritual have made the Cant de la Sibilla part of the Historical Heritage of the Balearic Islands by law and it is considered to be one of the region's most important historical assets, it is therefore protected by law as a cultural interest.
Candidacy for Cultural Heritage by UNESCO
At the end of July 2009, the Department of Culture and Heritage of the Consell de Mallorca initiated the campaign for the Cant de la Sibilla to be listed with UNESCO. On November 16, 2010, UNESCO decided, during the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Nairobi, to include the Cant de la Sibil·la in its Representative List.
To see this beautiful and truly unique performance, head to the church either in Puerto Pollensa or Pollensa on Christmas Eve at 7pm and 9pm respectively. Look at the What's On Page as well for more detail.