The Christmas Nativities in Mallorca
A route of the Christmas Nativities in Mallorca is an interesting plan to spend time before Christmas and will get you in the Christmas spirit. In Mallorca, Nativity scenes are an important part of the Christmas celebrations. A lot of institutions, churches and shopping centers have their own Nativities for their visitors in the lead up to Christmas. Nativities are on until the Three Kings celebration. On Christmas Eve, after Midnight Mass, newborn Baby Jesus is located in his cradle in the nativity scene, and the Three Kings are shown on their way to the cave of birth. As the day of Three Kings is coming closer, they are also approaching to the cave of birth.
In this article our local experts have prepared for you the list of Nativity scenes (known locally as “Betlems”) in Mallorca. You will also find a short introduction about their origin and almost forgotten mallorcan traditions connected with them. If you are looking for more information about Christmas traditions in Mallorca, please check our articles in the Christmas in Mallorca category.
Origin of Christmas Nativities
The origin of these Nativities, or “Betlems” is dated back to the Middle Ages, exactly on Christmas Eve of 1223. This day Saint Francis of Assisi built the first nativity in the cave next to the hermitage de Greccio (Italy) as a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Bwfore long, this tradition became more popular. In 1465 the first company dedicated to producing the nativity figures was established in Paris. Since XIV century preparing the Nativities for Christmas became a tradition on the Italian Penisula and started to expand to the rest of Europe. First of all as ecclesiastical practice, after that aristocratic and finally general.
The Franciscans were those who played a very important role in it. Their rules of strict poverty, humility, simplicity and being close to the people was very well matched by the humble birth of the Messiah. So they used their representation as an element of preaching, considering therefore the manger as a Franciscan invention, cultivated especially by these and by the other Franciscan convents. It arrived to Spain in the middle of the 18th century when King Charles VII of Naples became King of Spain, promoted the diffusion of birth among the Spanish aristocracy. Later reaching popular practice in the whole country and America.
Mallorcan Tradition of Christmas Nativities
In the XVIII century existed a tradition connected to the Christmas Nativities in Mallorca, which it was almost forgotten. It consisted on finding a hidden friar in theNativity scene. In last few years the Mallorcan Nativities Association did a great effort to recuperate this tradition. We encourage you to look for a hidden friar on the different Christmas nativities tou visit.
Nativities Route featured in Palma
Nativity on Plaza Cort (B)
In the foyer of the town hall of Palma you will find one of the most popular nativity scenes to visit in Mallorca. It is one of the biggest and most magnificient Nativity Scenes. You will find there a huge amount of figures and details of city, sea, mountains, fields and local life.
Prepare yourself to see more than 170 ceramic hand made figures in the nativity scene at the town hall!
- On Plaza Cort from 28 December til 6 January, between 9am and 9pm. Saturdays / Sundays / holidays between 10 am and 8:30 pm, on the 6th January til 6 pm.
Nativity in cultural center La Misericordia (D)
This nativity scene is a representation of a Mallorcan village, which is preparing itself for the birth of Jesus. You will find there all traditions, trades, customs and traditions from Mallorca. Some are still ongoing and the forgotten ones are represented as well. We can give you some examples as loom trades, the dance of the “cossiers” or typical Mallorcan “matanzas”… A lot of figures move too, so it will be gorgeous experience with a lot of details.
- Located on the Plaza del Hospital from 10am to 2pm and then 4pm to 8pm. Between 30th November and 6th of January.
In this hand made nativity scene, every year you can find new details, and not only on the scene, but also in the room. The organizers also made bigger windows to make easier to have a proper look inside!
Christmas Nativity of Sant Antoniet
After 10 years, in 2018, the Association of Betlemists Francesc Roselló put again on shot the monumental nativity scene in Saint Antoniet’s cloister. On more than 16 lineal meters, you can see the figures, which were put away for 10 years while they went through renovation. This is a Hebrew style nativity scene in a characteristic Mallorcan landscape. The purpose of visiting this nativity scene is mostly its monumentality. Thanks to the location on the shopping street in the center it is also easy to find.
- On San Miquel street, on the patio of Sant Antoni church. Opening hours, between 14th December and 7th of January.
Neapolitan Nativity of Bartolomé March foundation (F)
The origin of this nativity scene dates back to the seventies. Bartolomé March was acquiring the pieces of neapolitan figures from the XVIII century. He created his fantastic neapolitan nativity scene with more than 2000 figures. The cavalcade of the Three Kings is amazing. You can find a lot of details in every figure stand, in two different cavalcades, in the clothes, or the weapons…
- Open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm
- Entrance 4,50€
Nativities in shopping centers (A)
Since a few years the shopping centers as el Corte Ingles and C&A also open their Nativity for the public. The exposition in El Corte Ingles has approximately 50 square metres, and is still one of the biggest. The one in C&A is also big, but not as huge as this from Corte Ingles. Both are available between 9:30am and 9:30pm – as the opening hours of the stores.
- El Corte Inglés: on the fourth floor of the mall on Avenida Alexandre Rosello. From 9:30 til 21:30. From 26 November til 7th January,
- C&A: from 5 December til 22nd January, on Sant Jaume street 2, from 10 to 14 and 16 to 21.
- There is also one nativity scene in Porto Pi made from playmobil figures. Worth to see as well.
Located on Sant Jaume 12 street also has one little nativity scene. It is available to visit between 11 and 13, 17 and 19:30 from Monday to Saturday.
Nativities in convents (C & G)
Every convent has its tradition of preparing the nativity scene for Christmas celebration, which is located in one of the chapels. Here are three nativities at convents that we recommend the most to visit:
- Convent of Santa Magdalena (C)
- Convent of Santa Clara (G)
- Capuchin nuns. Neapolitan Nativity dated back to 1710, has a high cultural worth.
Nativity La Sang
Located in one of the chapels close to the entrance of the church at hospital La Sang. It has big figures that are protected behind a gate. This is one of the oldest Christmas nativities in Spain, dating back to 1480. The tradition says that in 1536, a ship was struggling on the sea due to the strong storm. During the storm the captain promised to deliver one of the figures of the Christmas Nativity he had on board, if they arrived safe. Then, he saw the light of the old Convent Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles in Palma which led them to the port of Palma.
- Open from 7:30 to 13 and 16 to 19:30 from Monday to Friday. Saturdays from 7:30 to 13 and 17 to 19:30.
- Free entrance.
Nativity in Cultural Center Sa Nostra (E)
Since few years we can admire the traditional Mallorcan natvity made by Miguel Ángel Moncades Batle.
The nativity scene we are talking about is located in two rooms on the second floor of the Cultural Center Sa Nostra. Maritime and rural surroundings take the most of the place on the platform with special dedication to the home of the creator, Montuïri. On another adjoining platform of around 20 square meters, the mistery and the Wise Men. It is a Mallorcan-style Nativity with a wide range of figures. They represent old scenes of mallorcan life. In the first room, you will also find new things as a big lighthouse on the little island and the beach next to it, fishermen village, with its church and candle mill, inspired by old flour mill from Montuïri.
- Located on the Concepción 12 street, opening hours: from Monday to Friday between 10 and 13:30, in the afternoon between 17 and 13:30, from 13 December to 3rd January
Nativity in the Center of Military History and Culture of Balearic Islands
The little nativity is located close to the room where the old pharmacy is. In the cloister, with Christmas celebration motives, there is also a stand with samples of Christmas pastry and handicraft prepared by nuns from convents in Palma.
- Located on San Miquel 12 street, open from Monday to Friday between 11 and 13, afternoons 17:30 – 20. Saturdays from 10:30 to 14.
More Nativities in Palma de Mallorca:
Nativity in Santander Bank
Located on Alexandre Rosselló 11 Street, open between 13th December and 6th January. Opening hours from Monday to Friday between 9 and 14:30.
Nativity on the Santa Catalina Market
Located on La Plaza Navegación, open betwen 25 November and 6th January. From Monday to Saturday between 9 and 16. This Nativity scene is prepared by Mallorcan Betlemists Association and every year they inaugurate it with the celebration of choosing the new name for the exposition.
Nativity in the Sant Antoni Abad church in Son Ferriol
Located on Blatera 49 Street, open from 8 December to 17 January. Saturdays at 19:30, Sundays and holidyas at 10 and 19:30.
Nativity of Cristo Rei parish
Located on Baltasar Valenti 32ª Street, open from 22 December til 7th January. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays open for an hour between 7 pm and 8 pm. Sundays between 10 and 11 am.
Nativity in Sant Josep del Terme parish
Located in the parish and it is possible to see it during the service hours between 24 December and 6th of January.
If you have the information about another interesting Nativities in Mallorca, please let us know and we will update the list.