Moors and Christians in Alicante
This is one of the more peculiar and extravagant festivals found in Spain. However, and for some time, it isn't as present in the media as it was before. That gives us a good reason to talk about it here.
You cannot say that the Moors and Christians Festival is like a carnival or an accurate historical reenactment, even though elements of both celebrations are present. To sum it up, this is a festival that commemorates the struggle and battles between the Christians and the Muslims during the Reconquista. In this festival, the participants are divided into two groups: Moros and Cristianos. The Moors "take over" the city and the Christians re-take it the following day. During the festival there are many events that simulate battles, armies marching through town, and other happenings at historic locations reliving past events that occurred there.
These festivals (this festival is not only held in Alicante, this festival is played out in cities and villages throughout the province of Alicante) rival the beauty and the attention to detail in the elaboration of the costumes found in celebrations like the Carnival in Tenerife. On both sides there are troupes and clubs whose outfits remind us of past warriors that participated in the battles here centuries ago: the Knights Templar, the Almogavars, the Almoravids, Bedouins... All in spectacular uniforms and each one directed by a captain.
Given the era that is represented, you can imagine that this festival has some very deep roots. It certainly does, since it is believed that the first celebration was held in the year 1150. At that time the Reconquista was still centuries away from ending! What is known for sure is that the festival of today dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries and during this time the festival spread to Valencia, Murcia and some parts of Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha. It wouldn't be wrong to saying that these festivals are making history themselves.