The Best Moors and Christians Festivals To Be Found In Alicante
A festival commemorating the clashes between the Moors and Christians can be found almost every month somewhere in Spain but the fiestas are especially popular in the Valencian Community, particularly in Alicante Province. The festivals depict the clash of cultures that occurred during Moorish occupation of Spain from the 8th through to the 15th century in a period known as the Reconquista – the reconquering of towns and cities by the Christian armies. This reclamation is usually depicted in mock battles; first the Moors will take control of the town and then on the last day of the festival the Christians will drive the Moors away. Locals come together to form the enormous armies and don traditional clothing; the Christians in metallic armour and furs and the Moors in colourful Arab costumes decorated with trinkets. On the first day, in a show of force, the two armies will march through the streets along with beating drums and dancers. This is one of the more popular events in the festival with people gathering on balconies and leaning from windows to watch the pomp and ceremony. In Alcoy (Alcoi), the procession boasts 5,000 participants. The mock battles take place in key locations around the town to mirror actual historical events; in squares, at castles or harbours. It’s quite a spectacle to see two groups, in their hundreds, charging towards each other in a cloud of gunpowder smoke. Each Moors and Christians festival will vary according to the history of the town and so each one is unique. The most famous festivals are those in Alcoy (22-24 April) and Villajoyosa (last week of July), both being designated Fiestas of International Touristic Interest. Also worth visiting, and declared of National Tourist Interest, is the festival held each May in Petrer and Biar. These three towns are all within an hour’s drive of the Drivalia Car Rental depot at Alicante Airport.