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Festival of Moors and Christians in Elda

  • Christian marksmen during the Festival of Moors and Christians in Elda, Alicante

    Christian marksmen during the Festival of Moors and Christians in Elda, Alicante

  

Category

Festivity of National Tourist Interest

Dates

Jun 1, 2023 to Jun 5, 2023
Elda
Alicante - Alacant, Valencia

The city of Elda in Alicante (Region of Valencia) celebrates its recreation of the battles between the Moors and Christians on the first weekend of June every year. It features colourful processions with lots of music, re-enactments of the battle and lots of outdoor events. 

The festival begins on the night of the Wednesday before the first Sunday in June with fireworks and the opening of the festivities.  On Thursday, the first processions of the troupes (known as comparsas – groups representing the Christians and Moors) in their spectacular colourful costumes take place. On Friday, the patron saint of the festivities, Saint Anthony, is taken to the Santa Ana Shrine, accompanied by all the troupes (around 7000 members), with the sound of their paso dobles or marches created for the occasion ringing out. This is also the day on which the children's parade takes place. The first re-enactment of the battle and attack on the castle is held on the Saturday morning. By the afternoon, it's time for the triumphant Christian Entrance. On Sunday, all the troupes join for the pasacalles parade, and the offerings to the Saint and the mass for the festivities are held. That afternoon, the Moorish Entrance takes place. Finally, on Monday, one last re-enactment of the battle and attack on the castle takes place, followed by the procession which returns Saint Anthony to his shrine. 

The festival was first held in a similar fashion in 1945, which was when the first comparsas appeared. However, some references to the festival date back to the late 19th century. The festivities feature some elements from these times, such as excerpts of texts which are read during the performances. It has been a Festival of National Tourist Interest since 2020. 

In addition to the processions and re-enactments, the locals enjoy night-time street parties and other outdoor events. These include the cuartelillos (sites for each of the comparsas which are decorated to recreate the historical moment) and the Certamen de Música Festera competition, during which each comparsa performs its paso dobles and marches. The mascletà, a pyrotechnic noise show traditional to the Region of Valencia, also plays a starring role during the festival.

  

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