“Para comerselas!” (What locals exclaim when seeing cute kids in their fancy outfits: “So sweet you wish you could eat them.”)
Once a year, except this year due to pandemic restrictions, the centre of Palma turns into one gigantic hotpot of extraterrestrial and fairy tale life. Sa Rueta, the capital’s children’s carnival, is not only a favourite with families for being an occasion for the little ones to put on a fancy dress and turn into their favourite heroines and heroes for a day. What is the biggest fun for all is the taking over of the city and turning it into an otherworldly playground.
The date of carnival is determined by the date of Easter. Mardi Gras is 47 days before Easter. Easter is the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, or ecclesiastical full moon, which is the first full moon on or after March 21. So, every year the dates of the processions change. This year, the dates are set by the local municipalities as events are held online/virtually. Sa Rueta is 4-6 February, 2021 and Sa Rua is 20-21 February, for most places. But be sure to check with your local ajuntament for exact dates and times near you.
For those unfamiliar with the local lingo: “Sa Rueta” is the diminutive of “Sa Rua”, as the grown-ups’ carnival procession is called that traditionally takes place on the weekend following the little ones’. The only thing small at Sa Rueta, however, are the protagonists of the show – well, most of them. Every year there are reported sightings of granddads wearing butterfly wings, dads dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood with a little two-legged wolves at their heels and whole families of dinosaurs. Even dogs, dolls and teddy bears walk through town in disguise.
Robert Holland and John Hutson joined in the fun for us. Look and see who they met on their way. This video is from last year, to keep our memories strong and hopeful that we return to full celebrations in 2022.
Read more about the grown-ups’ carnival procession Sa Rua here.
Sa Rueta - Carnival 2020 Palma
Families in costumes on streets of Palma
Photos credits: Robert Holland and John Hutson
By Ulla Rahn-Huber
12 February, 2021