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Full Version: Christians and Moors Festivals in Spain
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Fascinating.. I didn't know such festivals took place in Spain (they apparently go on all year, starting and ending on various dates in various towns).

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Quote:Almost 800 years of coexistence between Muslims and Christians gives a lot of substance for the festival of Moors and Christians. You can participate in this historical play almost every month in some town or village of the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

In some towns the stage performance goes on for days, featuring the most important phases of local history. The scenes of many battles, schemes and alliances take place in town squares, castles, harbours etc.

Most of the plays start from the reconquest, the process by which Christians reconquered the Iberian peninsula. Depending on the town, the closing scene of the play involves the conversion of Moors to Christianity or their expulsion to Africa.

Besides watching the theatre of reconquest, people make themselves part of it. They hang the Muslim or Christian symbols, coats of arms and banners, outside their houses, wear traditional costumes and dramatize various scenes in the streets.

Playing the role of a Muslim is at least as popular as being a Christian. One reason is that the Moorish garments were more elaborate.

Thanks to henna, woad, madder and other coloring agents together with materials like cotton that were introduced by Moors their dresses were brighter and more sophisticated. But there are also more serious motives. Many people want to trace their ancestors back to the Moors.

It is only natural that over the centuries the Moors - constituting Arabs, but mainly Berbers of North Africa - got mixed with the Christians through marriages. The first invaders brought no women with them. This way a large part of the second generation Moors were actually half Hispanic. Many Christians also converted to Muslims or adopted their customs while still maintaining their Christian rituals. Mozarabs, Renegades and Muladis were all Christians or former Christians who embraced Islam and often fought against their former compatriots.

Parades that take the streets late in the evening show these and many other characters in fantastic dresses surrounded by skillful constructions of castles, boats and other scenes of the reconquest.

Fireworks, thundering guns and clattering swords are part of both the parades and plays. In many towns the dresses and other properties of the parades are inspired by the Muslim piracy, common in the coastland after the expulsion of Moors.

The festival of Moors and Christians gives a good introduction to the origin of names, things and customs you see and experience while travelling in Spain and in the Iberian peninsula. Gibraltar is named after the Moorish general who led the groups that landed at Gibraltar in the year 711.

Video of the festival in Valencia, which just ended a few days ago, on the 24th of April:


Great pictures of the festival in various places at the site linked to above, and here, at

Moors and Christians is also the name of one of my favorite dishes....

.... black beans and white rice.

This is beautiful and makes me proud of my Cuban and Spanish heritage. And Valencia is one of my favorite, or perhaps my favorite, of the Spanish cities. Viva Espana.
Spanish feasts and festivals are always a sight to behold. IMHO, none are more lavish, extravagant, and well loved as the processions of Semana Santa, with Sevilla's processions being the most attended, especially La Madruga, held on midnight of Good Friday and lasting all the way till 2 in the afternoon. The high point of this 14 hour procession is the procession of the image of NS de la Esperanza de Macarena, often called by Sevillanos as the most beautiful Virgin of them all. The image is carried under a velvet canopy by dozens of men crowded under the large paso, and processed from the Basilica from where she is enshrined to the Cathedral. Many believe that La Macarena is the work of angels.

Love the babes.

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Oooh. Kind of like Renaissance festivals...Spaniard style.
Wow.. I just watched both of those videos. What fun!!!

Easter in Seville is another extravaganza. The Spanish are so cool.

- Lisa
So many things to see in Spain! I wish I could go. I learned about tapas and Holy Week processions, and now this stuff.
It's so sad that knowledge of Spanish culture is so ignored in our British-influenced culture. People hear "Spain" and they jsut think bullfights and the Inquisition. And the worst part is that they see those as bad things.