Saturday, September 7, 2013

Moros y Cristianos: Festival of History

A few weeks ago a friend of mine invited us to her hometown for the weekend to celebrate Moros y Cristianos. When I lived in Almeria I heard about this festival being celebrated in Mojacar, but I wasn’t able to go because of transportation. So, I was super excited to spend the weekend in Godella and participate in the festivities.
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Moro flag
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Cristiano flag
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Now, for those of you who haven’t studied Spanish history as much as I have this festival might not have any significance to you. Worlds fastest overview: about 780 years of battle between the Moors and Christians. The first Moorish invasion was in 711 starting around Gibraltar and made its way northward. Many many battles and changes in power (between the Moors and Christians) happened along the way. The last of these battles was called the Granada War and took place between 1482 and 1492 when the Catholic Monarchs (King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile) were in power. Granada was the last place on the Iberian Peninsula to have Islamic rule. This period of time is known as La Reconquista (The Reconquest). If you ever visit Spain, especially Andalucia, you will notice A LOT of Islamic influence in the architecture, art and even some of the language.

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Cristianas
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Cristianos
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The guy did stand up, I just didn't get it on camera :(
Anyway, back on track. This multi-day festival commemorates the history of The Reconquest. Parades are the most common sight with costumes, animals, music and dancing. In some of the bigger cities you can see elephants, horses and camels. We were very surprised when the small town of Godella had a camel in the parade!


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The Christian King
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After the Christians the Moors came
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The Queen. Obviously exaggerated a bit...I don't think they had dragons then.