The Menorcan Festival

May 19, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

For most of you that live in St. Augustine, you have probably heard about the Menorcans (Minorcans).  But if you haven't, here's a very, very brief history lesson.

Many years ago (later 1700's) my ancestors came from Menorca (Minorca - a small group of islands off the Southeast coast of Spain) to make a new life for themselves in the new world.  They (along with a number of other families) started an Indigo plantation in New Syrmna, FL as indentured servants.  Unfortunately things didn't work out (to say the least).  Facing starvation they walked to the St. Augustine fort and settled there creating our nation's oldest, continuously inhabitaed European city.  Though the years Menorcans have carried-on, while preserving a rich culture.

In more recent years local Menorcans have celebrated their heritage through a yearly festival.  Here we get together to taste traditional foods (Shrimp Pilaf, Chowder and Datil Peppers), listen to music, observe various trades/crafts and catch up with family and friends.

One such trades among many women of the period was to spin yarn.  At this years festival were several woman demonstrating this lost art.  For me it was very interesting to watch.  Seemingly second nature, these women carried on conversations amongst themselves as well with onlookers without missing a beat (or spin). 

This close-up not only demonstrates the dexterity and nimbleness of "time-wise" fingers, but capturing it in black and white helped to define the details of her hands and the spinning wheel.  Slowing the shutter down gave the outer wheel slight action.




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