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The origins of the Sant Joan festivities in Ciutadella date back for centuries. According to historians' investigations, the birth of the festival is linked to the Sant Joan d'Artrutx chapel, nowadays known as Sant Joan de Missa. Everyone who takes part directly in the fiesta is dressed in rigorously formal attire, and the most outstanding are those who make up the committee of Caixers. These represent the ancient Ciutadella society: nobility (caixer senyor), clergy (caixer capellÓ), artisans (caixers menestrals) and farmworkers (caixers pagesos). The "flabioler", that accompanies the committee of Caixers, is in charge of announcing the orders with the drum and whistle during the festivities.
Even though the festivies feature other outstanding activites such as the night of the "festers" and the Vigil of the Lamb, the "Festes de Sant Joan" in the strict definition begin on the Day of the Lamb, that takes place the Sunday prior the Saint's day. This particular day, the members of the committee of Caixers gather together at the palace of the "caixer senyor", where the latter hands over the flag to the "caixer fadrÝ". At 9 a.m., following the usual ritual, the "flabioler" is heard for the first time on the pipe and drum; and throughout the day the group goes round the historic streets of Ciutadella, visiting the Town Hall, the Palau Episcopal, the performance of the light opereta "Foc i Fum", the municipal hospital, the social entities, the manor houses and cavaliers' inns.
The most spectacular person, who can only be seen on this day, accompanying the committee of Caixers for the traditional collection, is the Homo des Be: a man who represents St. John the Baptist, dressed in lambskins, with crosses painted on his hands and feet, carrying a live lamb on his shoulders.
Meanwhile, as from 8 p.m., the popular hazelnut party is held in the Avinguda de la Constituciˇ, with the Banda de la Agrupaciˇ Musical that amongst other tunes, plays the well known Jaleo. When the committee of Caixers and the Homo des Be have finished all the compulsory visits, the caixers receive refreshment at the home of the "caixer casat". And finally, following the strict protocol, there is the farewell to the "caixer capellÓ" and the "caixer senyor".
After the Day of the Lamb, the festivities continue on the Sant Joan's eve, June 23rd, at 2 p.m., the moment when the "flabioler", riding an ass, goes to the palace of the "caixer senyor", to ask for permission to start the fiesta. Immediately afterwards, the piper starts the gathering of "caixers i cavallers" following the customary rituals. As from this moment, the horses and their riders become the stars of this emblematic celebration.
Of the events for the Sant Joan's eve, the most spectacular and colourful are the Caragol des Born accompanied by the Music Band and the emotional Vespres in the chapel of Sant Joan de Missa. The programme for this day is completed by the Hazelnut party, the Corregudes a sa Plaša, the Caragol de Santa Clara, the farewell on horseback to the "caixer capellÓ" and the "caixer senyor", the drink for the "caixers" and "cavallers" in the house of the "caixer senyor" and, finally, the farewell to the "caixer capellÓ".
On the Day of Sant Joan, June 24th, at 8 a.m., the piper asks permission from the "caixer senyor" to start the gathering again and once the "qualcada" is completed, they hold the trials of the Jocs des Pla, the Corregudes de Sa Plaša and the Caragol de Santa Clara. The morning's programme ends with the solemn Mass of Caixers in the Cathedral, the drink for the "caixers" and "cavallers" in the home of the "caixer capellÓ" and the formal farewells.
In the evening, the "qualcada" descends to the Pla, where the town councillors await, who have been invited especially to preside the games. After the first "Caragol" the games of "s'ensortilla", "carotes" and "cˇrrer abrašats" take place. Once the games finish, there is the last "caragol" followed by the Corregudes de Sa Plaša and the Caragol de Santa Clara. Finally, there is the farewell on horseback to the "caixer capellÓ" and the "caixer senyor", the drink for the "caixers" and "cavallers" in the at the "caixer senyor's" home, the farewell on foot to the "caixer capellÓ", and the last piping by the "flabiol", that will mark the end of the fiestas.