What is the Moors & Christians Fiesta?
Moros y Cristianos or Moros i Cristians literally in English Moors and Christians, is a set of festival activities which are celebrated in many towns and cities of Spain, mainly in the southern Valencian Community; according to popular tradition the festivals commemorate the battles, combats and fights between Moors (or Muslims) and Christians during the period known as Reconquista (from the 8th century through the 15th century).
The festivals represent the capture of the city by the Moors and the subsequent Christian reconquest. The people that take part in the festival are usually enlisted in filaes or comparsas (companies that represent the Christian or Moor legions), and for several days, they parade with bombastic costumes loosely inspired by Medieval fashion. Christians wear fur, metallic helmets, and armor, fire loud arquebuses, and ride horses. In contrast, Moors wear ancient Arab costumes, carry scimitars, and ride real camels or elephants. The festival develops among shots of gunpowder, medieval music, and fireworks, and ends with the Christians winning a simulated battle around a castle.
The most well-known Moors and Christians festival takes place in Alcoi (Valencian Community) from 22 to 24 April, around the Feast Day of Saint George (Catalan: Sant Jordi, Spanish: San Jorge). According to legend, after James I of Aragon reconquered the city of Alcoi, the Moors, in turn, tried to recover it shortly after. But, when they were about to start the battle again, Saint George miraculously appeared to the Moors, who were frightened away.