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Alcoy Moors & Christians Fiesta

The town of Alcoy, also known as Alcoi, will hold it's annual Moors and Christians Fiesta much later than usual this year; from the 22nd to the 24th April 2017 in honour of Saint George. It is a fabulous 3 day event full with stunning costumes, replica weapons, parades, bands, battles and the obligatory fireworks! The fiesta has been declared as being of International Tourist Interest, as it is the biggest, best and most definitely worth watching!

The event celebrates the battle between the Christians and the Arabs which took place in 1276. On the first day the parades begin, the Christians in the morning and the Moors in the afternoon. There are 28 filas (associations) in total and each parade has over 4,500 participants, which is why it takes a whole day! The second day is dedicated mainly to St George, with a religious procession in the morning and a more general one in the afternoon. On the third day, known as Alardo's day the real action takes place. The day starts with a parley, a verbal battle between the ambassadors from the two sides. This followed by a re-enactment of the gun battle with both Moors and Christians firing their booming arquebuses (antique-style muskets) leaving the city submerged in smoke and the atmosphere of a great battle. During this battle the castle in the Plaza Espana is fought over and both sides take turns to capture it. The whole event ends when Saint George rides in on his white horse to commemorate the miracle.

For all of the information about the fiesta take a look at the official website. Below is the programme, is English, for the 2017 Moors and Christian Fiesta in Alcoy. The best way to enjoy the main parades is to buy a seat, which can be done over the internet via the official website or before the parade:

Saturday 22nd April

  • 05:45 Diana, which is an early morning joyful parade, finishing at 09:40. After the Avemaria and the Himne de la Festa, the first fila start at 05:50 and the last fila starts at 07:45. Each fila takes 2 hours to complete the route, keeping a distance of 60 meters away from the fila in front. The Christians parade first, followed by the Moors.

    • Parade Route: start Plaza de España in front of the Ayuntamiento, then along Calle Sant Tomas, San Jaime, Plaza Emilio Sala, Avda. del País Valencià, Calle San Lorenzo, San Francisco and San Mateo finishing at the top of  Calle San Nicolás

  • 10:30 Entrance of the Christians. This parade symbolises the power of the Christians during the the time of James I. When the Christian Capitan arrives at the castle in the Plaza de España, the Governor will give him the keys.

    • Parade Route: starts at the Partidor and goes along Calle de San Nicolás into the Plaza de España where the Captain receive the keys to the castle at 11:15, then along Calle San Lorenzo, Avda. del País Valencià finishing at Santa Lucia.

  • 17:00 Entrance of the Moors. This parade symbolises the power of the Turkish Empire and showcases the oriental finery of the Moors.

    • Parade Route: starts at the Partidor and goes along Calle de San Nicolás into the Plaza de España at 17:45, then along Calle San Lorenzo, Avda. del País Valencià finishing at Santa Lucia.

Sunday 23rd April

  • 09:00 Diana this procession includes children. The Moors and Christians parade at the same time, but along different routes, both of which meet in the Plaza de España at 11:00.

  • 11:00 Procession of the Relic finishing at 12:00. The moving of the Relic of Saint George from his temple to the parish church of Saint Mary.

    • Parade Route: Iglesia de San Jorge, along Calle de Santo Tomas, L’Escola, Mossén Torregrossa, San Lorenzo, Plaza de España and Calle Mayor to the Templo de Santa María.

  • 14:30 Mascleta, day time rockets in the Plaza de España.

  • 18:00 Cardboard Horses Parade, small procession of the Realistas and Berberiscos fila including cardboard horses from the Font Redona to the Plaza de España.

  • 19:30 General Procession finishing at 21:30. During this parade the filas carry candles and return the Relic of Saint George is returned to its temple. At the end of the procession there is a light display known in Spanish as a 'bengalas' and fireworks, then everybody can kiss the Relic of Saint George.

    • Parade Route: starts in the Placeta del Carbó, then along Calle Mayor, Plaza de España, San Nicolás, Plaza Ramón y Cajal, San Francisco, Mossén Torregrossa, L’Escola, Santo Tomás, finishing at the Templo de San Jorge.

  • 23:30 Retreta Parade this festival procession includes Chinese lanterns and lighted floats.

    • Parade Route: starts in Calle San Nicolás where El Camí (Font Redona) crosses it, then to Plaza España, Calle Santo Tomás and finishes at the Iglesia de San Jorge.

Monday 24th April

  • 08:00 Contrabando, this is an ancient act performed in the Plaza España.

  • 08:45 Guerrillas, these are isolated displays in the streets around the town of skirmishes, all of which will finish at 09:45.

  • 10:00 The Christian Captain takes possession of the castle. At 10:00 the Moorish Rider asks for the castle to be surrendered. The request is refused and the Moorish Rider races back along Calle San Nicolás.

  • 11:00 Morning Battle of Arcabucería begins, there are three different parts to it.

    • Part One. At 11:00 the Christian Captain followed by his fila leave the castle along the left hand side of the Plaza España, then he goes along Calle San Nicolás to San Vicente. At the crossroads with Carretera del Molinar, he encounters the Moorish Captain and his fila. The Moorish Captain then follows the Christian Captain along Calle el Camí, San Mateo, Partidor and along Calle San Nicolás towards the Plaza de España.

    • Part Two: At 11:00 the `Alférez´ and the rest of the Christian filas also leave the castle along the right hand side of the Plaza España, then they go along Calle San Lorenzo, Avenida del País Valencià to its crossing with Juan Canto where they meet the Moorish `Alférez´ and the rest of the Moorish filas. The Moorish `Alférez´ then follows the Christian `Alférez´ along Plaza del intorr Gisbert, Rigoberto Albos, Bartolome, J. Gallardo, Roger de Lluria, Avda. País Valencià, San Lorenzo to the Plaza de España.

    • Part Three: The Christian Captain and `Alférez´ will retreat from the Plaza when the fight begins. The Moors win the battle and gain control of the castle at 13:15.

  • 16:30 The Moor Captain, his fila and the 'Alférez' take possession of the castle. At 16:45 the Christian Rider asks for the castle to be surrendered. The request is refused and the Christian Rider races back along Calle San Nicolás.

  • 17:30 Afternoon Battle of Arcabucería begins. This has exactly the same itinerary as the morning battle, except it is the Christians who are chasing the Moors and end up occupying the castle. The battle finishes at 20:00 with the firing of the guns.

  • 20:15 Honouring of Saint George. When the battle is finished both the Captains and `Alféreces´ from both sides, will parade around the Plaza de España to the Parroquia de Santa María where they will meet the General Assembly, the Association of Saint George and the statue of Saint George. They will all parade together along Calle Mayor, Plaza de España, Santo Tomas to Santo the Iglesia where they will give thanks to Saint George, the patron saint.

  • 21:30 Apparition of Saint George. The Aparición of `San Jorge´ will be performed at the castle in the Plaza de España. This short, emotive act includes special hymns and marks the end of the festivities with a firework display.