Moors and Christians (April)
There are numerous Fiestas relating to the conflict and battles between Moors and Christians, one of the most spectacular of these being the one that takes place in Alcoy, Alicante, from April 22nd to April 24th.
The re-enactment commemorates events that took place in April 1276 when
the city was attacked by the Moorish captain Al-Azraq, According to
legend, St. George appeared on horseback to join the townsfolk against
the Moorish attackers and the town was saved. As a token of their
gratitude, the people of Alcoy promised to build a church in honour of
St George and also to hold annual festivities to commemorate the saving
of the city.
On April 22nd, two parades take place. The Christian troops appear in
the morning, the Moors in the afternoon. It is a very colourful event
with lavish costumes and a lot of drum banging, trumpet blowing and
other sundry noises.
April 23rd is the Feast of Saint George, a day of religious celebration.
Saint George, a soldier of the Roman Empire, is not only the patron
saint of England but is also the patron saint of Aragon, Canada,
Cataluña, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Palestine,
Portugal, Russia, and Serbia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort,
Beirut, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Moscow, Cacéres and Alcoy.
April 24th is ‘Dia del Alardo’, the ‘Day of the Battle’ and the air is
filled with the sound and smell of blunderbusses and other medieval
firearms as the armoured Christians fight it out with the cloaked Moors
until finally, as always, the Christians emerge victorious.
Well, almost always. There was one occasion apparently when, after the
official end of celebrations, a group of the Moorish invaders who had
been celebrating rather vigorously and were a little worse for wear from
drink, decided to change history and stormed the castle again. They
succeeded in taking the castle and then refused to leave until forced to
do so by the local Guardia Civil.