History comes to life in Alicante
Spain celebrates many, many festivals – but one of the most spectacular are the historic Moors and Christians Festivals. The popularity and grandeur of these festivities means that they take place in many parts of Spain, but the event is of special importance in the province of Alicante. There,in the small city of Alcoy, the Moors and Christians Festival is officially recognized as being of International Touristic Interest, and it certainly does attract visitors from around the world – more and more each year.
A centuries-old tradition
Experiencing this incredible re-enactment lets visitors discover an important piece of Spanish history, while also enjoying a festival that gets bigger and better each year. This is impressive, considering that the festival has been taking place in Alcoy for over two and a half centuries!
The Moors and Christians are a very important part of the heritage and cultural identity of the city and region. The festival itself is dedicated various figures who played a role in the Muslim uprisings that took place in the region in the year1276. The most important character of all is San Jorge (Saint George), who is celebrated as a great defender against the attacks by the Muslims and is the patron of the festival.
The most important battle commemorated took place on April 23rd of 1276, when the Arab troops of Al-Azraq attempted to storm the city of Alcoy. Legend has it that San Jorge appeared during the battle, driving out the Arabs once and for all. Thus, each year the Moors and Christians Festival takes place around this day, from the 22nd to 24th of April.
A trilogy of events, a city transformed
Every year, the city of Alcoy brings the Middle Ages alive again, and taking part in the magic is an unforgettable experience. The events are organized over three days, each one filled to the brim with excitement.
First is the Day of Parades, which begins at dawn in the Plaçad’Espanya. Even at this early hour, the plaza is bursting with people waiting for the celebrations to begin and in magnificent costumes. Throughout the day, visitors will see the Christian Captain’s chariot surrounded by his knights, African warriors beneath a rain of confetti, exotic processions of dancers, and an endless cavalcade of music and color.
On the 24th, the day is dedicated to San Jorge, the undisputable protagonist of the whole event. He is represented by a child, and visitors will enjoy morning and evening processions of more incredible costumes, music and dance.
The third and final day marks the climax of the Festival, with a re-enactment of the famous battle ending in Arab defeat. This begins with a verbal battle between ambassadors from the two sides, followed by a grippingmock battle known as the Alardo. As the smoke and smell of gunpowder clear, San Jorge appears heroically, riding a white steed.
No better time to visit Alicante
History, culture, beach resorts and a nearby airport all make the region of Alicante a great place to take your tour group, but there truly is no better moment than the Moors and Christians Festival at the end of April. Ask us for more details!
Photos from Turismo Alicante