Celebrating tradition has always been important, but arguably never more so than within this year of change and uncertainty. Traditions (They) can be a needed anchor in a sea of the unknown, or a reflective mirror to the ways things were and what we want the future to be.
T.S. Eliot describes tradition as “the vitality of the past (that) enriches the life of the present.” This enrichment, that we are in dire need of, is visibly evident in one particular place: on the island of Menorca, Spain.
Horses have been deeply seeded in the Menorquin culture since the Arabs invaded the island in 903 and further reinforced by the English and French invasions in the 1700’s. Today, the need for horses as a means of transportation and defense is long gone, however the horse remains a central figure in local ’fiestas’, amongst hobbyists and, of course, at the traditional trotting races.
Since 1971, aficionados have gathered to the Torre del Ram racetrack in Ciutadella to watch the Sunday races and, if they are lucky, make a buck or two. Friends and families have chosen this location to enjoy a perfect week’s end with a cold beer in hand and, over time, this tradition has been passed from one generation to the next. Enriched over time with new events like ‘Hats & Horses’ (Ascot a la Menorquin), the people of Menorca fervently embraced this year’s festivities, as if to say: we are still here, our traditions live on and life will continue.