the legendary Mallorcan donuts with a hole (and the bloody history they commemorate)

The sweets of Todos los Santos continue to take center stage in the sweetest side of October, with products already common throughout Spain, but coexisting in each region with their own elaborations, often associated with other festivities. So it happens in Majorca, where today they celebrate Santa rsula with the curious feast of the virgins and the sweet “fritters of the virgins”, who have been luring at the counters of the confectioners for several days now.

Traditions are changing and many shops and businesses may now be nodding to Halloween or already offer nougat, but nothing can do with that nostalgic passion that awaken the most traditional sweets. In Mallorca they are currently also preparing wind fritters, but those are the fritters of the virgins those who become the protagonists of a peculiar festival.

Saint Ursula and the Legend of the Eleven Thousand Virgins

On October 21, the feast of Santa rsula, a martyr of the 5th century whose figure had a remarkable spread in medieval Europe, and whose celebrations still have roots in some areas, such as Mallorca. Though perhaps few remember the poor woman.

Saint Ursula dead

Fragment of the reliquary of Saint Ursula, by Hans Memling (Memling Museum).

Legend has it that Ursula, the Christian daughter of a Breton king, agreed to marry a pagan monarch in exchange for his conversion and that he pilgrimage to Rome with its own entourage. After their engagement, the newly crowned undertook the journey accompanied by eleven thousand virgins, a thousand for her and a thousand for each of her eleven maidens. They reached the holy city without complications, but on the return journey, along with Pope Ciriacus, they were besieged by the Huns in Cologne.

The virgins and virgins were murdered and Úrusa, whose life was basically spared because of her beauty, was eventually performed by Attila herself by refusing to accept him as a husband. The lady thus became a martyr, with the arrow that killed her as a personal iconographic attribute.

Sweet potato fritters in exchange for serenades

The tragic fate of those women is in a way honored with the feast of the virgins, very popular all over the island, especially thanks to the sweets that accompany it. The old tradition wore the boys on the eve to serenade his suitors (Night of the Virgins), at the foot of your windows or balconies. They could simply thank the gesture by turning on a light or entertaining the lover with sweets and muscat wine.

This ritual, let’s say obsolete, doesn’t have much follow-up anymore, but it is maintained the zeal for donuts. The typical habit of giving them mainly to girls and young people in the family is also maintained, although in reality every sweet tooth enjoys them. Donuts homemade or bought at a local store.


Although confectioneries also prepare the most famous wind or fill with truffle, cream and cream, the most purely traditional of our time are those of the yards O from hole, of hole, like a donut or rather a donut, since the dough is prepared with baker’s yeast.

So they belong to that large group of fried or baked sweets that we love to prepare and share at the indicated festivities, which is why they are equally popular in All Saints, Lent or Holy Week. The recipe may vary by family or bakery, although the ingredients are basically the same: flour, boiled potato and/or sweet potato, sugar, baker’s yeast, eggs, sugar and oil.


The secret to a good donut confirm expert votes, is to achieve a mass that conserves the characteristic hole and a nice frying pan which leave the sweet golden brown, but without absorbing too much oil, or they are too heavy. They can be taken with sugar or honey, or simply dipped in a glass of sweet wine or chocolate.

Photos | iStock – Wikimedia Commons
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Winston Ferguson

"Total travelaholic. Subtly charming zombie geek. Friend of animals everywhere. Music buff. Explorer. Tv junkie."

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