Festa des Vermar, also known as the Grape Throwing Festival is a widely popular annual event in the wine-growing village of Binissalem on Spain's gorgeous island of Mallorca, held over several days during the end of September. As the name suggests, it is a super fun festival that celebrates the grape harvest and concentrates on all things related to grapes and wine. It draws people from all around the globe to enjoy the wild days and crazy nights filled with fun and frolic with exciting activities. Although the history of this event is somewhat lost through the ages, it is generally agreed that it began as a celebration of the grape harvest way back in Roman times and served as a fun way to get rid of the grapes that were not good enough to go into the wines before the winter.
As the village farmers in those days had no idea what to do with the not-so-good grapes, they used to assemble in one place armed with their stock of bad grapes and had fun throwing grapes at their friends, family and loved ones for a laugh. Soon, it became a tradition, as the villagers found it the best way to get rid of the bad grapes and at the same time, an interesting way to make a lot of fun. Gradually, it started to attract more and more people from the outside world and the tradition changed colour to become an annual fun-festival.
Initially started as a harvest celebration, the fun-oriented Grape Throwing Festival continues for two entire weeks at a stretch and includes exciting activities and events like grape-stomping competition, grape-throwing fight, mouth-watering food and certainly, lots of wine.
Known for its amazing wines, the village of Binissalem is surrounded by vineyards and the festival rejoicing the annual grape harvest attracts thousands of visitors each year. Initially, only residents were allowed to attend the festival. But with its ever-growing popularity, today the visitors are also allowed to attend and participate. On the specific day, the participants assemble in the central square of the village and wait eagerly for the organizers to fire a rocket, signalling the kick-off of the festive event. Following the starting signal, the traditional piper leads the waiting crowd to a field just outside the village, where huge heaps of grapes were gathered beforehand. As soon as they reach the field, the participants start grabbing handfuls of grapes from the huge heaps on the ground and with the blowing of a whistle, everyone starts the crazy fight by throwing grapes at each other. The unbridled grape war, which is undoubtedly messy, continues until there is not a single grape left on the ground to throw and every single participant is covered in grape juice and bits of the sweet fleshy fruit. It gets pretty messy, but that is the most enjoying part of the fun at the world’s only grape throwing festival.
Apart from grape throwing, the grape-stomping contests are also arranged. People gather their partners and compete with other groups, standing barefoot in their vat of grapes. They have only a few minutes to show how much juice they can squeeze out of the grapes and the prize goes to the group who creates the most juice.
Following the funny fight, all the visitors are invited to taste some wines in the town square. As the local winemakers take great pride in their wines, they offer tastings of different wines that have been made on the island and it becomes a ceremony of tasting wines from various years in the past as well as new wines that were made from the latest harvest.
The nights of the festival are equally filled with fun and frolic when huge parties with delicious local dishes are arranged, accompanied by traditional dances in interesting costumes, along with folk songs. A huge firework also takes place with brilliant fire dance performances.
The unique Grape Throwing Festival of the island of Mallorca with its crazy routine continues for two entire weeks to the much delight of the villagers, as well as the visitors.