Popular Moors And Christians Festivities

The splendour of Moors and Christians Festivals Credit: CC

Spain has a long and often turbulent history and the past is still considered part of the present, especially when there’s a party to be had!

The Iberian peninsula consisted of a number of territories ruled by different Christian nobles until the Moors from North Africa invaded in the 8th Century and took over much of what is modern day Spain, thereby creating a special part of the Country’s heritage.

Skirmishes took place between Moors and Christians over the centuries but slowly but surely the Moors were driven further South by the 11th Century but still held vital cities such as Cordoba and Granada for another 400 years.

Classic film fans will remember that Charlton Heston made sure that the name El Cid became synonymous for the fight to return Spain to Christianity but in actual the real warlord Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar fought for both sides during his lifetime although he died in Valencia after defeating a Moorish force five years earlier.

Slowly but surely, over a period of several hundred years the Christians regained most of Spain through a series of battles (although in some cases battle is too strong a word as the numbers involved in the fighting were relatively small) and in many towns and cities especially in Valencia Province, history is re-enacted annually.

There are Moors and Christians Festivals held in individual towns on or around the date of each ones victory over the Moors and they are a great excuse to enjoy a few days and nights of dressing up and partying.

In England, the Sealed Knot Society re-enacts battles between the Roundheads and Cavaliers, in the USA it’s the Civil War and in Spain its Moors and Christians.

Local groups dress up in medieval costumes (and plenty of people are happy to be a Moor for a week), local markets are turned into Souks, there are parades, mock battles, cannons firing blanks, cavalry plus of course the inevitable and much appreciated food, drink and music.

Each town has a slight variant on its neighbour as far as the celebrations are concerned but all attract large numbers of locals and visitors who just enjoy the positive vibe, without dwelling on the negative of the real fighting that actually took place and many of the parties are about to start.

To paraphrase Mr Spock from Star Trek, anyone who took part in the real events and was transported to the future to see the Festivals would be bound to say “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.”

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing newsdesk@euroweeklynews.com, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EuroWeeklyNews