Pare Ginard Museum, Mallorca

There’s a new house-museum opened up in Mallorca, called the Casa Pare Ginard Museu de la Paraula, Father Ginard House Museum of the word.

Interesting name, huh? What do you think it’s about?

Pare Ginard Museum Mallorca

“Paraula 01” by

It opened just a year ago and Toni, Marga and I went to have a little look during the first week it was open. It is an old house, where a priest grew up at the turn of the last century.

The boy that grew up in that house, became known as Father Ginard later in life, after he joined the Franciscan order and studied in Arta.

This priest became very special because he made a collection from all over the island of gloses.

What are gloses?

Gloses are a kind of ditty half sung, half spoken in Mallorca. Each verse has four lines and each line has seven syllables.

These song-poems were chanted at all events: at a death, at a birth, at a wedding, just for fun, for specific public holidays, for anything. They were a way of sharing and relating news and events.

And that’s why the museum is called the “Father Ginard House Museum of the word”.

Nowadays the gloses are rarely heard in Mallorca, save on one very special local celebration. Do you know which one? That’s right, they are chanted all through the night and all through the streets during the celebrations of Sant Antoni in January, accompanied by the droning sound of the xibomba instrument.

With the availability of news through newspapers and other media, and better communication systems, these gloses were already a dying breed a century ago when Father Ginard was a young man.

As he visited the towns and villages of Mallorca, doing God’s work, he spoke to the older people and got them to tell him the gloses that they knew and he would make a note of them so that they would not be lost forever.

He finally put together a book of gloses, which took him over forty years of his life to compile, and which contains 20,000 gloses, many of which would have died with the last person to recite them had he not saved them.

This house-museum is dedicated to the work of Pare Ginard and his preservation of the Mallorquin gloses.

It is very difficult to translate such a ditty into any other language and have it still make any sense because of the rich Mallorquin dialect used in the gloses, but at the museum they have done a very good job presenting the information in Mallorquin, Castellano, English and German.

When we went last March we got a personalised guided visit from the museum curator – in fact, I think we might have been the very first visitors – but now there is an app and free wifi in the museum to download it with, which gives you an audio guide and a fantastic virtual video of how the different rooms in the house would have looked when it was lived in. When you’re in the app, you point your smartphone anywhere in the room and you see a camera of what the room would have looked like then. It’s very clever and quite surreal.

About the Casa Pare Ginard Museu de la Paraula:

  • Click for location
  • Entrance fee: free
  • Opening times: Mon – Fri 10:00-14:00 and Tues & Thurs 16:00 – 18:00
  • Telephone: 971 52 66 72

Filed Under: Art in MallorcafeaturedmallorcaReligion and Culturespain

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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