EL CANTO DE LA SIBILA (THE SYBILíS SONG)
On the 24th of December, the churches on Mallorca celebrate the Matines, the offices of Christmas Eve, to commemorate the birth of Christ. One of the most stirring moments is the Song of the Sybil. This is a song that dates back to the Middle Ages which prophecies the arrival of the Redeemer and the Final Judgement. The ceremony generally features one person – boy, girl, young man or woman or adult – dressed in a tunic, an embroidered silk cloak and a hat and carrying an enormous sword in their hands.
Sybils acted as seers in the ancient world, and their prophetic books were examined to find out the future of the community. Christianity assimilated this figure and turned it into a liturgical element at Christmastime. The text of the song is in Catalan, and it has the most archaic Gregorian melody in Europe.
The most popular Matines are the ones held in the Sanctuary of Lluc and the Palma cathedral.