The neules are one of the most traditional of all ornaments in Mallorcan
churches at this time of year. Originally an edible type of bread they were
hung in the churches for the Christmas Eve Watchnight Service. After the
singing of the Sibil.la, the sword was used to cut the string
holding the neules so that the congregation could enjoy them. Unfortunately,
as this occurred prior to the end of the service, the resulting havoc
led to Church disapproval.
At one time the were also used as a form of calendar
measuring the time leading up to Lent, the larger ones representing
the weeks and the smaller ones the days, with the appropriate one beng removed as time passed. With literacy, this custom has
fallen into disuse. Another calendar to count the weeks of Lent itself was the Jaia Corema.
Nowadays, the neules are circles of white paper, intricately cut to resemble
snowflakes or depict scenes from the Nativity and hang in profusion in
the churches or over the nativity scenes.