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Parade of a Christian filà of the Moros i Cristians festival in Alcoi.
Parade of a Moorish filà of the Moros i Cristians festival in Ibi.
Entrance of the Moors, 2006 - El Campello
Disembarkment 2006 - El Campello

Moros y Cristianos (in Spanish) or Moros i Cristians (in Valencian), literally means Moors and Christians, and 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 Moros y Cristianos festival takes place in Alcoi 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.

Other remarkable Moros y Cristianos festivals are celebrated in the towns of Bocairent (Medieval town 1-5 February), La Vila Joiosa (with its desembarc), Villena, Biar, Cocentaina, Crevillent, El Campello, Elda, Muro d'Alcoi, Ontinyent, Oriola, Petrer, Pollença and some districts of Alicante city. The most ancient festival is celebrated in Caudete (Albacete), dated from 1588.

A version of this festival survives in the Philippines in the form of the moro-moro play, staged during fiestas. The show begins with a parade of stars in their colorful costumes. Actors playing Christians wear blue costumes while those playing Moors wear red costumes and are fully ornamented.

See also

External links

Parade of a Moors Ship in the beach of Villajoyosa, 2008.
Escuadra de la comparsa of the Christians of Elda, 2006.

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