Fairs, Festivals and Markets 7, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain)
One of the original elements of the festivals and traditions of the Balearic Islands is its folk dancing which is rooted in ancient folklore surrounding gods and godesses of the harvest. Above all, the dance of the cossiers, an eye-catching ritual akin to Morris dancing, features a central female figure protected from a «devil» by three pairs of male dancers dressed in white tops and trousers with coloured belts. The cossier dancers are most well known for their performances in Algaida, Montuïri, Alaró, Manacor and Pollença.
Also worth a mention are the cavallets - the «little horse» dancers of Felanitx, a tradition which dates from 1671. The dancers, wearing a hobby horse costume, can be seen during the Felanitx-based festivals of San Augustín; Santa Margarita and in the Festival of the Bulls held every year on 28th August when the small bullring in Felanitx is opened up for a bullfight for just one day a year. Local people dress up according to their different clan colours and there is much merry-making in the streets. A variation of this dance can be seen in other parts of the Island but it has had the longest association with Felanitx.
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