Saint Anthony was a bit of a hard nut in his day. Resigning himself to seclusion in the desert, he was repeatedly tempted by the devil. During these desert dwelling days, Anthony the Great came upon the satyr and the centaur. But after a good dose of scaring, the creatures gave up and helped him along his way and even asked for his blessing. The monk continued and found a plate of silver and gold coins, which he duly rejected as a devilish temptation. Hiding in a cave to escape the devil, Anthony was beaten half to death by demons saved only by a flash of light that frightened the beasts away.
Accompanied by his faithful black piglet during the ordeal, Anthony is known for his love of animals and his talent at healing them – he became their Patron Saint. He and his team of monks were also very good at healing people, in particular those with Ergots Disease. The gangrenous poisoning became known as the ‘holy fire’ and ‘Saint Anthony’s Fire’.
So we know why we have this mix of devils, fire (and subsequent mass barbecues) and animal blessing on the Saint’s day itself (the 17th). Where Pollensa’s pine tree tradition comes from is a little harder to determine. It’s been going on for hundreds of years and ‘El pi de Sant Antoni’ is so etched in tradition that many come from across the island to see the chosen Pine in Ternelles, enjoy the communal barbecue and help bring it back to the town before someone climbs to the top to release the basket of confetti. It used to be a chicken but perhaps Sant Antoni had a quiet word about animal cruelty. The pine stays there until Ash Wednesday when it is taken down to make the swords for Joan Mas and his crew on August 2nd.
This is a great fiesta, for some the best of the year. So take a look at the What’s On and don’t miss any of it.