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.

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