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Villena Moors and Christians Fiesta

The Moors and Christians Fiesta will take place in Villena from the 4th to the 9th September 2018. Over 12,000 people participate in the parades and it is one of the most famous and spectacular of the many that are celebrated in this area of Spain. There are fourteen Comparsas, or groups, seven of which are Moorish, and seven of which are Christian. Each one of these Comparsas is made up of several hundred male and female participants.
 
The celebration is dedicated to the patron saint of Villena; Sra. Maria de las Virtudes also known as the Virgin of Virtues. According to the legend, she miraculously manifested herself at the end of the 15th century near the town, on the site where today there is a sanctuary which houses her statue.
 
The full programme is in the brochure below and the highlights are:
 
Sunday 26th August
10:00 Parade to announce the fiesta from Plaza de Santiago finishing in the Plaza de Santiago for the raising of the flags and the singing of the National Hymn.
18:00 Romeria (short pilgrimage) with the statue of Ntra. Sra. De las Virtudes from the Santuario to the Iglesia de los Padres Salesianos with singing of the traditional hymns and the firing of the blunderbuss guns, followed by the switching on of the fiesta lights and fireworks.
 
Tuesday 4th September
19:00 Grand Concert by the Banda de Musica de Villena in the Teatro Chapi.
01:00 Fireworks from the Castillo de la Atalaya followed by partying.
 
Wednesday 5th September
12:00 Announcement of the Fiesta from the balcony of the town hall, followed by the singing of the Fiesta Hymn and the National anthem and then a parade of all of the Comparsas along: Plaza Santiago, Ramón y Cajal, Joaquín Maria López, Corredera, Plaza del Rollo to where it meets Calle Nueva.
16:00 Grand Entrance Parade of the Moors and Christians. Route: starts in Calle Nueva at the intersection with Avda. de Elche, and finishes in Avda. Constitución where it intersects calles Coronel Selva y San Isidro.
 
Thursday 6th September
07:30 Diana, early morning parade with the music band
12:00 Parade of Hope (Desfile de la Esperanz) from Plaza Auxiliadora.
17:00 War and Siege between the Moors and Christians at the castle
21:00 Gran Cabalgata Parade with all of the Comparsas, starting on Avda. Constitución at the intersection with calles Coronel Selva and San Isidro, following the traditional route to the end on calle Nueva at the intersection with calle el Hilo.
 
Friday 7th September
07:30 Diana, early morning parade with the music band
12:00 Offering Parade in honour of Ntra. Sra. Maria de las Virtudes.
18:30 Contrabando and attempts at negotiations for the return of the castle to the Christians.
22:00 Retreta Parade by all of the Comparsas. Route: Calle Nueva, from the intersection with Avda. de Elche, finishing on Avda. Constitución at the intersection with the Plaza María Auxiliadora.
00:00 Sacred Concert in the iglesia de Santiago
01:00 Alborada in honour of Ntra. Sra. Maria de las Virtudes in the Plaza de Santiago.
01:30 Spectacular Firework Display from the Castillo de la Atalaya, followed by partying.
 
Saturday 8th September Day of Ntra. Sra. Maria de las Virtudes
07:30 Diana, early morning parade.
12:15 War and Siege between the Moors and Christians at the castle. 
18:00 Representation of the Conversions of the Moors to Christianity at the Iglesia Arciprestal de Santiago, followed by the Solemn Procession with the image of the Virgen Maria de las Virtudes and all of the Comparsas. 
 
Sunday 9th September
07:30 Romeria with the statue of the Virgen Maria de las Virtudes with all of the Comparsas. 
17:00 Entrance of the New Captains of the Comparsas, followed by the award ceremony for the fiestas.