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"Sibil.la's song" Christmas traditions

16/12/2019

Declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010, Cant de la Sibil·la, a song of medieval origin and Gregorian melody, arrived in Mallorca by the hand of Jaime I "The Conqueror" to become the most unique Christmas tradition.


On December 24 a song silences the attendees of the traditional Mallorcan Matines (Misa del Gallo). This is the Cant de la Sibil·la, a song of medieval origin that has only survived over the years in Mallorca.


Introduced on the main island of the Balearic Islands after the Conquest of Jaime I, it prophesies the arrival of the Redeemer and the Last Judgment. What is probably the oldest and most characteristic Christmas tradition in Mallorca, is sung without instrumental accompaniment, except for the preludes between stanza and stanza. Although initially it was sung in Latin along with a Gregorian melody, from the thirteenth century the first versions in the Catalan language are already documented.


Starring a single person, she wears a robe, sometimes embroidered on the neck and bottom, usually accompanied by a cape. The imposing wardrobe is complemented by a sword that remains suspended in front of the face and with which, once the act is finished, it forms a cross.
The character of the Sibil·la represents the pythonesses whose prophetic books were consulted in the ancient world to know the future of a community. Christianity adopted this character and incorporated it as another element of the Christmas liturgy.


The Cant of the Sibil·la excites every Christmas Eve in practically all the municipalities of Mallorca, being the busiest and most traditional Matines that are celebrated in the Sanctuary of Lluc and the Cathedral of Palma.


It is not surprising that, acclaimed as one of the most unique and relevant phenomena of Mallorcan musical history for the convergence of popular tradition and cultured music, it has been declared an Intangible Cultural Interest and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since the year 2010.

font Govern Illes Balears.

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