In the Cathedral of Mallorca, also known as “La Seu” or “Cathedral of Light”, it can be observed every February 2 (La Candelaria festival) and November 11 (Saint Martin’s day), dates symmetrical with respect to the winter solstice, an extraordinary light and color effect.
In the early hours of the morning, the sun’s rays are filtered by the polychrome crystals of the larger Rose window, which, striking the walls of the Cathedral, move through them to, after a journey of approximately one hour, reflect just below the Opposite rose window, the one on the main facade.
For a few moments you can contemplate an eight formed by two rose windows, one made of glass and the other one of light, giving rise to what has been called “ El Vuit de la Seu ” or “ Show of the eight ”.
Eight is a number loaded with symbolism in the Christian tradition. By adding one more day to the seven calendar days of the week, Christendom gave this “eighth day” the category of a time beyond all time: the time of eternity.
The largest Rose Window, also known as Oculus Maior or Gothic Eye, has a diameter of 12.55 meters and, with its 1,236 pieces of colored crystals, it is the largest in Christendom. It was built in the times of Bishop Antoni de Galiana (1363-1375), although it was in the 16th century when stained glass windows were added.
It is noteworthy, as a particularity of this rose window, the perfect Star of David formed by 24 equilateral triangles that their tracery draws on it.
The beauty and color of this phenomenon consist of three different phases:
– The reflection begins to occur with the first rays of the sun
– The reflex is in its intermediate phase
– The reflection of the larger rose window coincides just below the rose window of the main façade, producing at this time the phenomenon called ” Vuit de la Seu “
Seu de Mallorca itself prefers to call this phenomenon “Festa de la Llum” (Festival of Light), with which it is intended to recover a historical name that was used since the 6th century in the West to refer to the day of Candlemas.
To date, although the various entities that have studied this phenomenon have not agreed on the reasons that originate it, it seems that a host of factors converge in it. Both the orientation of the Cathedral, coinciding with the sunrise during the winter solstice and located approximately 120º to the southeast, as well as the characteristics of its construction (it is located in the same place occupied by the old Arab mosque of Medina Mayurca).
Although at the moment the origin of this phenomenon is unknown, it seems that it is not a simple coincidence. Carrying out the construction of La Seu with an orientation towards the sunrise in the winter solstice implies that of 360 possibilities, there is only one that produces the phenomenon and that corresponds to the alignment of the Cathedral, too much coincidence! …