Moors and Christians Festival
Much of Spain's history and culture is celebrated throughout the year in the form of festivals and fiestas, some small affairs specific to certain towns or cities and others such as the Moors And Christians Festival celebrated throughout the country at different times of the year. The Spanish love a party and don't need much of an excuse to hold one, many with a religious theme, some to celebrate a successful harvest or fishing season, and others such as the crazy Tomatina Festival, purely to have fun.
During the Moorish occupation of Spain which lasted almost 800 years, many wars were fought with the Christian inhabitants of the country, not only over religious differences but also trade and land disputes. These battles eventually came to an end when the combined military forces of Castile and Aragon finally captured the last Moorish outpost in Granada, expelling the Moors back to north Africa and returning the rule of Spain to the Christians.
Moors and Christians Festival
This was an extremely important milestone in Spain's history and during the Moors And Christians Festival various reenactments of those turbulent times are held, accompanied by much noise and fanfare. Most of the ones that take place on the Costa Blanca are held over two or three days, with the largest and most well known held in Orihuela City, on the border of Costa Blanca and Costa Calida. Depending on where they're held the festivals generally represent the capture of that town by the Moors and subsequent recapture by the Christians, with many of the town's clubs, societies and citizens getting involved in the parades.
Many months are spent in preparation for the Moors And Christians Festival and the results are spectacular, with everyone dressed in wonderful costumes and the townsfolk choosing sides to add to the friendly rivalry, half cheering on the ‘Moros' and the other half siding with the Christians. The opposing army's costumes are even more elaborate, the Moors with their bejewelled robes and curved scimitar swords and the Christians looking fearsome in armour, steel helmets and furs. During the months of preparation staged battles and marches are practised along with choosing the best music to accompany the marches and parades.
Come festival time the town's streets are festooned with flags and banners and lined with eager festival goers waiting to cheer on their chosen army during the battle to come. Fantastic processions march along parade routes with participants posing and strutting for the crowds who cheer along accompanied by much wine and song. Many of the opposing army's soldiers are mounted on horses or camels and carry fake but noisy guns to add to the excitement, the climax of which is the battle and expulsion of the Moors from the town. An added bonus of the Moors And Christians Festival for visitors to the Costa Blanca, is that they are held at different times and in different towns throughout the year, giving visitors more of a chance to join in.