FIRO - THE BATTLE OF THE MOORS AND CHRISTIANS
The second week in May brings the Es Firo festival to Soller. This is also known as the battle between the Moors and Christians. There are various bays in Mallorca that claim to have had a 'Moorish' invasion but Soller celebrates the one that happened in 1561. This was when Algerian invaders landed on the beach in the Port of Soller and marched to Soller town to claim it for the Arabs. The valiant women of Soller were very cunning and this time were ready for the pirates as they sauntered into town. The path was covered in treacle and the women were ready with their catapults.
It was the women that repelled the invaders and sent them either to an untimely end or back to sea – grateful to get on their ships and head out of town. We love the valiant women of Soller and every year two young women are elected to hold the office of 'Valiant Dones' for the year.
The re-enactment is always held during the second weekend in May. In the afternoon the first landing by the pirates takes place on the beaches near the Marina. Dressed in the North African Moorish costumes of the period local men women and children, together with their swords and shotguns and faces painted black, arrive by boat to be met by the local townsfolk. They are dressed in traditional Majorcan costumes and carry stone catapults. The battle starts here and the tradition is for the Moors to shoot through the straw hats of the townsfolk. So, if you are wearing a sun hat be prepared for its demise!
The battle then continues on the Repic beach before the grand march into town. When they are at the Monument restaurant, about a third of the way into town, the Valiant Women of the Tamany district come out to start the mother of all battles. The feckless pirates know when they have met their match and either run away or are taken prisoner and marched up to Soller for the final indignation. Soller square is ready for the final battle which will have you reaching for the earplugs. Shooting, fireworks and big crowds are the name of the game for about an hour and then the battle is won. The Moors and the Christians retire to the local bars to inspect their wounds and make plans to do it all again next year.
The fiesta ends with the battle but the week leading up to it finds Soller in expansive mood. Art exhibitions, a concert by Pro Musica, Soller's choir, and performances by the town band are amongst the delights on offer. May is a great month in Soller; there is always something going on.
You are welcome to celebrate our fiesta with us – suspend belief and any theories you might hold on 'health and safety' because it sometimes appears that the rule book has gone out of the window. But it all seems to work and no-one forgets the first time they saw Soller re-enact their proud past.