Moors and Christians Celebrations
You look around and see the streets decked out like the Middle Ages, magnificent processions pass by, exciting mock battles……What could this be?
This is the festival of Moors and Christians: they are days filled with magic, legend and spectacles. Over four centuries, this festival has recreated the historic clash between two cultures, those of the Moors and the Christians.
Come and enjoy this unique festival in which thousands of people take part year after year, all trying to outshine each other in splendor and brilliance.
The festival of Moors and Christians is a very old tradition and it dates back to the 16th century. It commemorates the conflict that took place between Moorish and Christian soldiers in the 13th century over the rule of Spain. The events are held in honour of the city's patron saint who had also played a decisive role in the battle. Thanks to the saint's sudden and unexpected intervention, victory went to the Christians in spite of them being outnumbered by the Moors.
The grandeur of this attraction, and popular nature of these festivities have caused them to spread across many parts of Spain, they are especially popular in the cities of Valencia and Alicante. You will see many variations on these festivities, as each place has its own history of what took place. It has been said that the festivals of Alcoy and Villajoyosa are worth a visit for their spectacular nature and both are recognised as being a Touristic Interest for Internationals. By being part of this festive re-enactment, you will have the chance to discover an important piece of Spanish history, but at the same time as you can thoroughly enjoy a festival which manages to outshine itself year after year.
A sight to be seen
The start of the celebration really is spectacular and well worth seeing: it starts with the arrival of both armies in the city. In the early hours of the morning, the streets, and windows fill with people to get take their positions so that they do on not miss a single thing. To music and with all the honour and majesty you could hope for, the various groups that make up the Moorish and Christian factions march in procession, they desperately try to outshine each other, in their splendor. It tends to be one of the most popular and impressive events, in Alcoy, over 5,000 people take part in the procession.
There are also religious ceremonies held in honour of the city's patron saint. For those that have an interest on that side of things. But for those that do not there are still many more exciting moments awaiting you, such as the spectacular final battle. The battle follows the "embajadas" (meeting of envoys) in the castle, here each side reads a text in an attempt to persuade the other side to surrender. Once these negotiations fail, a mock battle ensues, here thousands of kilos of gunpowder is used, ending in victory for the Christians.
The final battle also marks the end of the festival and three days of fun, colour and extravagance. But don't worry, you will be able to enjoy the Moors and Christians again next year in Spain, in an even more spectacular and astonishing festival.