ONE of Europe’s oldest non-religious celebrations takes place in Palma, Mallorca this Saturday.

The Festa de l’Estandard(banner) has its roots back to the early 13th century and is held every December 31.

The day is in effect Mallorca’s ‘National Day’.

The Festa de l’Estandard commemorates King Jaume I from Aragon liberating Palma- or Madina Mayuqa as it was known- from Moorish control on December 31, 1229.

It was the beginning of all of the Balearic Islands returning to Christian rule.

Celebrations run from 10.00 am through to 1.30 pm.

The morning starts with a ceremony to place the Royal Banner of the Conquest of Mallorca and the Crest in the Plaza de Cort.

Civic leaders and dignitaries then walk- accompanied by musicians, folk dancers and horses- to mass at the cathedral.

Then at a noon, a poem called ‘La Colcada’ is recited in the Plaza de Cort.

It was written in 1863 and refers to the previous name given to the festival

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