It begins with the cry of a bugle. The warm Mediterranean air is still. Suddenly the band strikes up a song and the whole town appears, crowding the streets. The summer festival has begun!<br><br>The small Spanish island of Menorca hosts almost a dozen traditional fiestas each summer, collectively called ‘Jaleo’ or ‘Horse Festivals’. With origins in 14th century Catholicism, these events have evolved from ceremonies dedicated to a town’s patron saints into a celebration of Menorcan community; immovable and unwavering in the face of tourism.<br><br>The main feature of the festivities are horse parades. Locally bred horses dressed in ribbons and rosettes ‘dance’ through the streets alongside crowds of people. Not unlike the Running of the Bulls practised on the mainland, the bravest onlookers are encouraged to run into the parade and touch the hearts of the rearing horses for good luck. Celebrations differ slightly between towns, but all involve a parade, food, and gin – which no doubt provides courage to those seeking good luck. <br><br>Determined to preserve local history and culture, the Menorcans maintain their traditions during the busiest tourist season of the year. They remind us that the island is much more than a holiday destination.