Moors & Christians celebrations in Alicante

moors & christiansWhen:
The parades and battle re-enactments of the Moors and Christians celebrations take place during various dates starting in March and drawing to a close on December 6.

The historic center, El Barrio, is the center of attention in December when the various neighborhoods- each of which celebrates the Moors and Christians Festival at a different time during the year- unite to commemorate the final battle between Moors and Christians.

moros y cristianosRun Down:
Equal parts of religious history, festive street carnival, strict tradition and fun atmosphere combine to make this Alicante fiesta the fascinating and entertaining cultural affair that it is. The festivities get going each day with an early morning wake-up call, literally, as dianas pass through the streets rousing everyone with music and noise. Everyone in Alicante then heads to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (City Hall Square) to await the widely anticipated entrada- the spectacular entry of the brilliantly dressed Moorish and Christian armies.

The two armies- the Moors and the Christians- make their big entrance with a festive parade full of color, music, costumes and exuberance called the Avís de Festa. The "soldiers" of each of the armies march through the city proudly donning elaborate costumes- in fact, their clothing seems to become more elaborate and colorful by the year as members of each band try to out do their enemies' garb! Then come the battle simulations. These re-enactments, complete with the explosions of gun powder and the traditional battle music, take place at different times of the year to represent the various battles fought between the Moors and the Christians before the Christians- as history teaches us- eventually came out with the big win.

Finally, after the battle- which the Christians always seem to win- each company heads light-heartedly to their respective havens in an entertaining, humorous retreat.. The Moorish company heads to its "kabila" and the Christian company to its "cuartel" where plenty of food, drink, music, dancing and overall general festivity await them.

This festival, which takes place little-by-little throughout the year, draws to an end on December 6, when the Christian and Moorish armies from the various parts of Alicante parade through the city center to commemorate the day when Infante Alfonso- who would later become King Alfonso X- took the city definitively back in 1247.