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Christmas holiday season officially under way

Foto nadales 20171The Christmas 2017 kick-off came yesterday in the form of a concert of holiday carols by the children of El Pilar de la Mola and Mestre Lluís Andreu primary schools. “Cantam Nadales” got started in plaça de la Constitució at 5.00pm.

Though scheduled for Friday, the evening performance, together with a tree and decoration lighting ceremony, was delayed due to inclement weather. Attending residents enjoyed complementary hot chocolate the show.

Wet weather was again behind the postponing of the Christmas Market opening. It was pushed back from Friday to Saturday morning. All of Formentera is encouraged to come out for the market. It will be open from 11.00am to 3.00pm and again from 5.00pm to 12 midnight until January 7.

Officials check in on dig at Sant Ferran cemetery

Foto exterior cementeriA team of local and regional officials paid a visit today the site where crews have worked since last Wednesday to locate a Civil War-era gravesite near the Sant Ferran cemetery. Led by the president and vice-president of the Formentera Council, Jaume Ferrer and Susana Labrador, and Manel Santana, head of the Govern's department of democratic participation and memory, and including Formentera's provincial councillor, Sílvia Tur; Senator Bernat Picornell and the local administration's social and community involvement secretaries, Vanessa Parellada Sònia Cardona.

Almudena Garcia-Rubio, the forensic archaeologist and anthropologist who is overseeing the effort, said the crew of experts enlisted in the disinterment have performed four probes in the cemetery; two failed to produce results and the remaining pair are still under way. An additional dig is being conducted just outside the cemetery in a spot where evidence suggests the bodies of the victims of the pro-Franco violence might lie. The driving impulse behind the undertaking is to unearth the remains of five individuals —Jaume Ferrer Ferrer, Josep Ribas Marí, Joan Tur Mayans, Jaume Serra Juan and Vicent Cardona Colomar— killed by firing squad during the Spanish Civil War.

President Ferrer said he was hopeful the bodies would be found, calling their unearthing a “potential pathway to healing for the families”. Manel Santana voiced his appreciation for the efforts of historians like Santi Colomar and Artur Parrón in restoring this part of the collective memory. Even should the attempt to locate the graves proves unsuccessful, “sites like this must be honoured and the acts that transpired there forever remembered,” Santana said, pledging that a bid to highlight Civil War grave sites was in sight.

Funding for the archaeological effort in Sant Ferran is possible thanks to a €16,780 Govern grant for the Eivissa-Formentera memory forum and a €4,000 contribution from the Formentera Council.

Disinterment effort begins at Sant Ferran cemetery

Foto fossa sant ferranA team of local and regional government officials paid a visit to the Sant Ferran cemetery where efforts will begin today to locate and ultimately disinter the burial ground located there. In the party were Balearic president Francina Armengol, Formentera's deputy vice-president and patrimony secretary Susana Labrador, regional minister of culture Fanny Tur, deputy vice-president Bartomeu Escandell and community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona.

Money for the upgrades will come from a €16,780 Govern grant for the Eivissa-Formentera forum for remembrance as well as the Formentera Council (€4,000). For the occasion the officials also paid a visit to the forum's president and vice-president, Luís Ruiz and Artur Parrón.

The driving impulse behind the undertaking is to unearth the remains of five individuals —Jaume Ferrer Ferrer, Josep Ribas Marí, Joan Tur Mayans, Jaume Serra Juan and Vicent Cardona Colomar— who died at the hands of pro-Franco forces during the Spanish Civil War. A seven-person crew, headed up by archaeologist and forensic anthropologist Almudena Garcia-Rubio, will spearhead the approximately week-long effort. The cemetery currently belongs to the bishopric of Eivissa and Formentera, whom the officials thanked for their collaboration.

Citing the fact that direct relatives of the victims are still alive today, regional minister Fanny Tur called the effort “a top priority” and expressed her hopes that crews would be successful. Councillor Susana Labrador shared Tur's stance, calling it “an emotional day” as they waited for the outcome of an effort that might lead to the discovery of the remains of five individuals shot down behind the very cemetery on March 1, 1937. “Our hope,” said Labrador, “is that the uncovering of these remains can, at least partly, ease the pain of those they left behind” and the families of other locals that met their end on the island during the war. She said the victims' relatives “to this day don't know where their loved ones have been all these years”.

According to the regional president, the current effort marks the third disinterment of its kind in the Balearics and the first in the Pityuses. She reasoned that “justice had to be served, so that the families could move on, and dignity could be brought to the names of those who died defending democracy”. “When a grave is unearthed, a wound is allowed to heal. Now it's time to heal a great many wounds that remain open to this day,” Armengol concluded. All of the officials thanked the historical remembrance forum for the part it has played in bringing dignity to the names of these and other individuals who unjustly suffered at the hands of repression under Franco.

Catalogue of activities heralds arrival of Christmas on Formentera

Redux mercat nadalThe Formentera Council's Office of Culture and Festivities wishes to announce its activities programme for the 2017-2018 Christmas season. The list is studded with kids' activities, family-friendly shows and other programming that, according to department chief Susana Labrador, aims to foster a “special, Christmas atmosphere”.

The fun starts Friday, December 1, as a yearly fixture, the Mercat Nadalenc, or Christmas Market, returns to plaça de la Constitució. Right after vendors hang out their shingles at 5.30pm, the primary school students of la Mola and Sant Francesc's Col·legi Mestre Lluís Andreu will treat Formentera revellers to an evening of carols. As the days go on, the plaza will play host to the musical guests of the season.

The island's youngsters, for their part, are promised winter holidays with plenty of arts and crafts workshops and stage productions. Christmas posters already up around town include the complete schedule. Diverespai is also back in town from December 16 to 20, meaning blow-up castles and countless other activities for children.

Kids activities
Now in its eleventh year, when Formentera's Children's Theatre Festival (Mostra d'Espectacles Infantils) happens on December 28 and, in the new year, January 16 and 18, it promises a diverse blend of Christmas entertainment for the island's youngest. It all starts with Viatge a la Font de la Xocolata, a stage production by Produccions de Ferro that mixes theatre, puppetry, masks and other visual elements to convey a message that is positive, optimistic, constructive and full of feeling. For all audiences.

Tuesday, January 16, the Sant Ferran library will host Canta'm el món, a fantastic storytelling affair presented by Eivissa's own Clownidoscopio.

Clownidoscopio will be back at Biblioteca Marià Villangómez on Thursday, January 18 to round out the festival bill, this time with Yoav&Ahmed, una amistat més enllà dels murs.

Youth centre
This holiday season, plenty of activities await Formentera teen-agers, as well. The Casal de Joves is urging local youth to come help create the drop-in centre's Christmas mural, learn how to make a Spanish holiday favourite, turrón, enjoy a warm cup of cocoa and, on Saturday, December 30, spend an evening with the kids of the Casal at the Christmas market.

Live nativity scene and Father Christmas
At 5.00pm on December 16, the island's cinema will be the site of a live-action nativity scene presented by the Verge Miraculosa school's student body. Then on December 21, Formentera kids are urged to come meet Saint Nick at a 5.30pm party in the Sant Ferran festival tent.

As ever, traditional song in the form of caramelles will fill the Sant Ferran church on the afternoon of December 24, the Sant Francesc church the following day, and once again in la Mola's church on the evening of the 26th for a holiday celebration known as mitjana festa.

Group exhibition
From December 18 to January 9, the municipal art gallery welcomes some of Formentera's most standout artists for a group Christmas show. The exhibition will open Monday to Saturday from 11.00am to 2.00pm and 6.00pm to 8.00pm.

Evening of concerts
One of this holiday season's headline events will take place December 16 when Cris Juanico i els Ai, Ai, Ai take over the tent set up on the Sant Ferran square. The show starts at 11.00pm.

Main events
On Saturday, December 23, a local outfit known as the “Three Kings' Association” will take command of the evening's programming in the town's festival tent. There will be entertainment, a barbecue and good tunes. Concerts will get started at 10.30pm with local legends Spioks first and a Valencian band, Nius de nit, afterward. The evening will be closed out by DJ sets.

The last night of the year, breakout cover band Tremendos will help us bid farewell to 2017 and usher in 2018 from our holiday command central in Sant Ferran.

Award for best window display
For the eleventh year running, the Eivissa-Formentera Chamber of Commerce and the Formentera Council have set out to promote a fun and festive Yuletide season by organising a contest of holiday window displays. Winners will be announced Friday, December 1.

Cavalcade of the Kings
The holiday season isn't over until the Three Kings of the East pay their yearly visit. That will happen, in the la Savina port, at 4.30pm on Thursday, January 5. From there the cavalcade begins in earnest, accompanying circus show in tow. At 5.30pm the procession will pull into Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució, winding through the streets of Sant Ferran at 6.30pm and heading for the hills (of la Mola) at 7.30pm.

Happy holidays to all!

When Engruna Teatre hits Formentera with 'Codi Postal 00', it's a family affair

Codigo marThe CiF Office of Culture and Festivities welcomes Codi Postal 00, a family stage production here under the banner of the island's eleventh Children's Theatre Festival (Mostra d'Espectacles Infantils). Tailored for kids three and up, the fifty-minute show is part of Illa a Escena (“Island on Stage”) and opens at the cinema at 6.00pm on Saturday, November 25. Tickets (€3) are available at the box office the day of the show.

Codi Postal 00 is also included in PLATEA, an initiative of INAEM (National Institute for the Performing Arts and Music), an offshoot of Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport dedicated to taking premier productions of the Spanish theatre circuit to nationwide audiences.

The unusual post office known as Codi Postal 00 traffics in letters and care packages. Is there anything that frightens you? Perhaps something that's stolen your heart? If there's anything at all you'd like to get off your chest, write it in a letter, and the postmen and women of Codi Postal 00 will see that it gets where it needs to go! The office is filled with an endless array of stories: of love, travels, secrets... A magical, one of a kind experience in the world of communication.

The troupe
Ruth Garcia and Mireia Fernández, the two actresses of Engruna Teatre, wanted to create their own language for the stage, and saw a family-friendly theatre company as the way to do it. They set out to woo and dazzle young and old, and create a world that was at once personal and visual, traditional and innovative. Using theatrics, puppetry, objects, Chinese shadows, video and music, they concoct a magical universe that stimulates the imagination of everyone in the crowd.

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