Information about the horse festivals in Menorca: dates and details

The horse festival in Menorca is one of the best known festivities on the island during the summer season, which residents and visitors alike do not want to miss. It is a peculiar and unique event that you should experience if you have the opportunity to spend at least a week in Menorca: What to see in Menorca in 7 days?

Most visitors, however, are unaware of its origins and traditions. What’s more, many don’t really know what the horse festivals in Menorca are called either.

What many people know as ‘the horse festival in Minorca’ are the typical patron saint festivals that each municipality of the island celebrates in summer, on a specific date, and in which the horses are the protagonists and participate in various shows, the most important of which is the Jaleo. For this reason, the festivities are often also known by this name.

If you want to know where the famous festivals of Menorca with horses are, when they take place in each of the municipalities and their tradition and origin, read on, you will find all the details!

Origin of the horse festival in Menorca

The horse festivals in Menorca have a centuries-old tradition and have a religious origin that dates back to the beginning of the 14th century.

The festivities with their horses and riders are a representation of Menorcan society in the Middle Ages with its estates (church, nobility, peasants, etc.) and their customs.

jaleo y fiestas de los caballos menorca

The main protagonist of the festivities in Menorca is the horse. The riders (in Menorca called cavallers and/or caixers) are dressed in black and white. The riders’ clothing consists of white trousers and shirt and black frock coat and tie, as well as other elements such as a waistcoat, gaiters, a hat (guindola), spurs and a whip.

The Menorcan jaleo

What is the Jaleo in Menorca and when is it? The Jaleo is a part of the horse festival that takes place after the horses and riders have been led through the streets of the village. Once they have all been gathered together, the traditional Jaleo begins.

In the Jaleo, the caixers enter the main square of the village and pass through the crowd demonstrating their skills and making the horses jump to the rhythm of the typical song and popular piece known as “Jaleo”.

Once the traditional Jaleo of the second day is over, the authorities hand out the canes; at that moment, the caixers re-enter the square making the horses jump, collecting the cane as a reward, and saying goodbye.

It is an equestrian spectacle worth seeing, full of sentiment and tradition, not to be missed if you visit Menorca.

Decoration of the festive horses in Menorca

The dress of the horses for the island’s patron saint festivities is pure tradition. Moreover, it depends on the category of each rider.

In general, the horses have to wear a bridle adorned with flowers and ribbons on their heads, a star on their foreheads, a velvet buldrafa and the tail folded back and also adorned with flowers and ribbons.

They are very particular ornaments that each rider chooses according to his taste and that are usually handmade, in an artisan way. They are unique and very elegant ornaments.

fiestas menorca jaleo caballos

When is the horse festival in Menorca: calendar 2024

Are you coming to Menorca this summer? Then grab your diary and make a note of all the dates when the horse festival is celebrated in the villages of Menorca.

In Menorca there are horse festivals from June to September. Therefore, if you come to the island, among the essential things to see in Minorca, you cannot miss any of these festivals.

The start of summer is marked by the Sant Joan festivities in Ciutadella.

The first horse festivals of the summer calendar are held in Menorca in June.

Below you will find all the days of the horse festivals in Menorca in 2024, so that you don’t miss a single one!

Horse festivals in Menorca in June 

  • 23rd and 24th June: Sant Joan, horse festivals in Ciutadella. One of the best known festivals in Menorca and the one in which most riders and horses take part.

Horse festivals in Menorca in July

  • Third weekend in July (20th and 21st): Sant Martí, in Es Mercadal.
  • 24th and 25th of July: Sant Jaume, in Es Castell. 
  • Fourth weekend in July (27th and 28th): Sant Antoni, in Fornells. Horses by the sea.

Horse festivals in Menorca in August

  • First weekend in August (3rd and 4th) : Sant Cristòfol, Es Migjorn Gran.
    • First weekend in August (3rd and 4th): Sant Gaietà, in Llucmaçanes. A festival in a small urbanisation in Mahón.
  • 10th and 11th August: Sant Llorenç, horse festivals in Alaior.
  • 17th and 18th August: Sant Climent, in Sant Climent.
  • 23rd and 24th August: Sant Bartomeu, in Ferreries.

Horse festivals in Menorca in September

  • 7th, 8th and 9th September: Mare de Déu de Gracia, in Mahón.
  • 14th and 15th September: Sant Nicolau, in Es Mercadal. On the island they are known as ‘the festivals that lock up the summer and the festive calendar’. On the 11th, both riders and horses go up to the top of Monte Toro and celebrate a small jaleo.

Apart from the horse festival, each municipality prepares an extensive programme with other acts and events, which may also be of interest to you and which you can consult if you are planning things to do in Menorca during your holidays.

The horse festival for children

The great thing about the patron saint festivities is that they are designed for everyone to enjoy them, from the oldest to the youngest.

If you come to Minorca with children during the summer, a perfect plan is to go to the town where the festival is held to see the horses jumping, riding through the streets and touching some of them, always with great caution. To do this, bear in mind some tips if it is the first time you interact with them.

In addition to the horses, the popular fiestas also offer events for children such as the traditional parades of giants, musical performances and/or the installation of rides in the main squares of the towns.