Traditions define a people. They celebrate life. They tell stories. They transmit values and keep them alive. They tell us who we are and who lived in our land before we arrived. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Vandals, Catalonians…Our folklore drinks from a deep cultural well and is never more enticingly on display than during the so-called ball pagès, the traditional courtship dance that has been practiced in the Ibicenco countryside since time immemorial. There are many variations on a single theme, all of which have the woman keeping her gaze fixed firmly on the ground as she traces timid circles with small delicate steps. Opposite her, the man gives great jumps and kicks as he clacks his huge castanets together, trying to get her attention and prove his strength and virility.

These country dances, which are performed on all of the local feast days, allow viewers to admire the traditional dress that country folk wore on holidays. The female dress is especially striking with its emprendada, a dazzling assemblage of tiered chains and reliquary pendants that overlay the chest. Typically this stunning piece of jewelry is made of gold, although it is also wrought in silver and coral. In the male dress, the waistcoat is decorated with filigree buttons made of silver or gold. Also of interest are the island’s traditional instruments, which feature the drum, the flute (made of hollowed out oleander branches), the espasí (a long piece of metal shaped like a sword), and castanets (or castanyoles, made of juniper wood).