Many of the older generation of the Ibicencan country folk
still wear their traditional costumes, in the villages, towns and the countryside,
especially on a Sunday when they take a great deal of pride in their appearance
when they go out to the their local parish to attend church.
women's dress is particularly noteworthy, with several petticoats worn one over
the other and down to the ankles produce a crinoline effect to the outer skirt
and apron. These are invariably black, as is also the blouse, which surmounts
it. Over this is worn a beautiful hand embroidered shawl with a silk fringe. On
festive occasions the head is covered with an attractive scarf, short enough to
display the long dark plait of hair tied with brightly coloured silk ribbon. In
the fields a large soft straw sombrero is worn over the headscarf to give added
protection against he sun.
The men's dress is much more
typical European, but mainly black and usually includes a beret or a soft black
felt or straw hat of the Panama type.
The children will
also stand out and attract your admiration for the spotless, dainty way in which
they are turned out, both in their school uniforms and in their day to day clothes.
It is usual for the little girls to have their ears pierced and gold sleepers
or small rings inserted shortly after they learn to walk.
over the years and with the influx of more and more foreigners to the island and
the consequent employment of so many of the local boys and girls into tourism
the younger generation has now discarded its national costume for the more orthodox
Nevertheless, one aspect of the legendary traditions
of the Ibicencans has been preserved and can still be witnesses in the folklore
displays which are still given at all the annual town Fiestas.
presents the dancing troupe an opportunity to exhibit their ancient national dress
in all its resplendence. Fewer spectaculars perhaps are the dancing itself. Moorish
in character and repetitive in execution. The leader playing a shepherd's flute
in one hand and beating a drum with the other provides the rhythm. In a number
of the dances the troupe supplements the rhythm with large castanets, the size
of their hands. Equally unusual, but eerie and moving in its simplicity, is an
ancient Ibicencan love song given by two of the older members of the party.
from dress one of the most impressive reminders of this bye-gone age is in some
of the ancient techniques employed on the farms and in the fields of the beautiful
Ibicencan countryside. Manpower and horsepower are still the driving forces in
certain parts of this wonderful way of life.
This of course
enables the farmers to work the smallest plots of land, some of which would be
inaccessible to anything so modern as a tractor. You will see the skilful terracing
on the side of the hills supported by solid stone walls. This not only levels
the ground but prevents the soil from being washed away by the rains.
are used for ploughing, harrowing and rolling. In the later case a large flat
plank or even an old gate is often used for the purpose, tethered to the horse
on either side by a stout rope. Standing in the middle of the plank the driver
maintains a precarious balance hanging on to the horse's tail in order to control
it and at the same time, adding weight to the roller.
interesting sight is that of threshing and winnowing the corn. After cutting the
corn by hand it is then laid out on the threshing floor. This comprises a large
circular area of hard ground or concrete. A horse is used to trample the corn
by plodding slowly round in circles, controlled by a man in the centre, until
all the grain has been expelled. The straw is then removed with forks and the
wind left to blow away the chaff. You will see a number of these threshing floors
around the island though with the innovation of the threshing machine fewer are
being used year by year. Circular hors driven water pumps are also still in evidence.
Windmills however first replaced the majority of these and then these gave way
to electric motors.
In days gone by horses and carts were
used both for personal transportation and for delivery of products, which although
abundant in many parts of the island is now insufficient to supply the needs of
Without irrigation the crops would be not
only sparse but also poor in quality on this sun-drenched island. Therefore, for
this reason land irrigation has been developed to a fine art throughout the centuries.
You will scarcely fail to notice the concrete water ducts fed from large depositories,
which are used so extensively in the fields throughout the island.
Some of these remarkable Ibicencan ways of life will hopefully continue for a
long time. Others unfortunately, are already dying out far too rapidly as modern
civilization extends its inexorable trends more over the island. May we enjoy
it, as it is, as long as possible?