"But you don't go to Alcoy to see grown men and women make fools of themselves, either. A welcome balance is struck between all-stops-out abandon and respect for traditions kept alive over the centuries. This is fun taken seriously."
Almost one hundred and fifty celebrations of "Moors and Christians" take place over the length and breadth of the country. The origins lie in the battles following the re-conquest in the 16th and 17th century. As early as the 17th century, groups of "Moors and Christians" drove through town, accompanied by noisy bands. A "battle" ensued with skirmishes and dances, ending with the triumph of the followers of the Cross, who surround the Moors and defeat them. Then it's conversion or death for the Moors, and finally homage to the patron saint of the town. Everything goes on amidst the noise of fireworks and the ringing of bells.
In the Balearics the Moors represent Barbary pirates that terrorized the island up until the seventeenth century. In Pollença the locals celebrate the defeat of the famous corsair Dragut, while two valiant women are the heroes of a battle with pirates, which took place in Soller in 1561. Some provinces with better known reenactments where you will enjoy battles, processions, displays, speeches, plays and ancient dances: Alicante, Cuenca, Granada, Cáceres, Valencia (October, 9th), Saragossa, Toledo, Albacete, island of La Palma, Murcia, Huesca, Almería, Mallorca, Cádiz, Jaén, Teruel, Castellón and Orense.
Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos
As the legend is told, when James I of Aragon reconquered the city of Alicante, the Moors got quite angry and tried to recover it some years later. However, as the battle was about to begin, Saint George miraculously appeared to the Moors, who ran away in fear.
The festivities end with the informal and comic retreats. Each filae has its retreat, the kábila for the Moors and the cuartel for the Christians, where a great deal of eating and drinking takes place. Membership in one of the 28 Moorish or Christian armies, called filaes, is much more than a hobby. The participants meet regularly throughout the year to commune with their brethren, raise funds, organize banquets, and plan out the many activities that make up the fiesta. For them the year starts and ends in April, the time when they don their costumes and march to the sound of the bands.
Different districts of Alicante celebrate the Moros y Cristianos on different dates:
"The president boasted at the top of his press conference that we have the support now of Britain and Spain for our attack on Iraq. You know, when you want to make it perfectly clear to the world that you're not an imperialist, the people you want in your corner are Britain and Spain. "
Moros y Cristianos
October 9, Valencia
Valencia celebrates Moros y Cristianos on 9th October, the day when
the army of King James I the Conqueror (also the protagonist of the
fiesta in Alcoy) entered Moorish Valencia in 13th century.
Last Update: 19SEP05
Last Link Check: 07OCT05