Meeting of Giants at Sant Marçal Church. Autumn Fair 2008

The Giant Musicians of Palma de Mallorca
The Palma giant playing his pipe and tabor

There is a record of giants appearing in the Corpus Christi procession as far back as 1734 when there were four pairs representing the four great branches of humanity. Later they were joined by a ninth said to represent the sea.

They played an active role in local festivals until an edict of Carlos III in 1780 banning dances, figures and other representations from religious processions. In Palma, the giants took refuge in the Convento del Buen Socorro but continued to venture forth to take part in festive activities while the authorities, only too aware of their popularity, turned a blind eye.

Eventually they disappeared and it wasn’t until 1903, when the Town Council made enquiries in Barcelona into hiring a pair, that giants began their gradual comeback.

In 1973, when Palma already had Tòfol and na Francinaina, two stationary giants, the Council commissioned Mateu Forteza to make two musicians, one playing the traditional Mallorcan tabor and pipe and the other the Mallorcan xeremia, close cousin to the Scottish bagpipe. Since then the giants have been accompanied by their own giant xeremiers as well as those of a human size.

Bandera española.

The Palma musician playing his Mallorcan bagpipe