Every year, either on the last weekend in May or the first one in June, we celebrate the Moors & Christians esti from Thursday to Monday. In these five days we commemorate that in the past we were invaded by the Moors and that they lived among us for 8 centuries, before they were expelled from Spain in 1492. In these years, the coexistence of both communities was not peaceful. On the contrary, there were continuous wars and attacks. Our celebration consists in recreating their battles, military marches and parades. However, it is much more than that. It is a full-time celebration that completely changes local life and its overall aspect. We have a medium size portable medieval castle installed in the Townhall Square, the town centre is decorated with medieval ornaments, the sound of harquebusiers firing their weapons and the music bands accompanying the parading troops can be heard everywhere, as well as we can smell the scent of gunpowder and the flavour of the typical meals cooked at the participants’ headquarters.
About 6000 of us take part. We are all ages and an even number of men and women. In fact, most of us are complete families. We are called “festeros” or “comparsistas” and are divided into two blocks: the Moor troops and Christian ones, and each of them have a top representative who is called The Embassador. In the Moors side we have four different groups (comparsas) whose given names are: Moros Realistas, Moros Marroquíes, Moros Musulmanes and Huestes del Cadí. And in the Christian side there are five “comparsas”: Cristianos, Contrabandistas, Zíngaros, Estudiantes and Piratas. Each of the nine comparsas has two main representatives who change every year. They are a woman, called the Abanderada (the flag holder), and a man, the Captain. Both of them march on horseback in front of their followers, who parade in lines.
Some of the participants wear a standard official costume according to the Medieval style which identifies them as belonging to their “comparsa”, while others wear exclusively designed very spectacular embroidered dresses. They take part in different events performing harchebus battles, the castle conquest, triumphal parades, etc. They have common meeting places called “headquarters” where they rest and stay at the end of each performance. There, they have their family meals, meet their friends and organize long dancing sessions at night. As most participants are Catholic, all these events also include the worship of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of our Moors & Christians Festivities.
Of course, this celebration has not a strict historical value, it is half way between tradition, culture, fantasy and enjoyment. However, as every festive manifestation, its purpose is not just to be reliable but to have the opportunity of meeting our dearest ones and being able to share with them a set of values which identify us as members of our community.
Junta Central de Comparsas