Moors and Christians
According to tradition, on 29th July 1538, the inhabitants of La Vila Joiosa saw their homes, their crops and their lives in danger... when they saw at sea 40 Saracen galleys willing to conquer the coast of La Vila Joiosa.
The bells ring out to warn the population, and the neighbors of La Vila Joiosa get ready to defend themselves. The galleys approach, the fire intensifies and when the Saracen invasion seems clear, the inhabitants of La Vila Joiosa pray to heaven for help and Santa Marta, who is the saint of the day, produces a windstorm moving the enemy back at sea. Since that 29th July, the people from La Vila Joiosa have proclaimed Santa Marta their Patron Saint, and every July they celebrate ,in her honour, Moors and Christians festivities, with an extraordinary and characteristic event, the Desembarc (the landings). A great spectacle of light, gunpowder and festivities, where the neighbours act in the performance of this historical event.
The Moors and Christians festivities of La Vila Joiosa, declared of International Tourist Interest, become every year, from 24th to 31st July, an event for thousands of people to meet and enjoy a perfect combination of traditions, history, shows and celebrations. In La Vila Joiosa no one feels like a stranger, any visitor is just another “festero”.
The open and cheerful nature of the locals, the streets full of music , the "cuarteles" (fiesta sites) open to all visitors, both local and foreign, and a programme of events organised by the Associació Santa Marta, in which every year history becomes a fiesta, …all this elements characterize Moros i Cristians celebration.
Don't miss :
Entry of the bands. To the rhythm of a “paso doble”, the bands enter the town
preceded by the captain of each festival association.
-25th and 26th July Moorish and Christian parade (in rotating turn, alternating sides each year to make their entry). Both troops make their entry into the city wearing their best clothes in a great show that impresses everyone.
-July 27th: Cache and Smugglers' Embassy, Presentation of Moorish troops to their King and Bedouin Embassy. Both Smugglers and Bedouins offer themselves to their respective kings to help them achieve their objective: to defend and conquer La Vila respectively.
From the 27th to the 28th of July La Vila Joiosa experiences its magical night. It seems just like another night of partying, but at 3am the ritual begins. The Moorish troops go to the port to embark on 35 galleys, on which the crescent moon flag flies, simulating those that approached the coasts of La Vila Joiosa on that July of 1538. At 4:30 on the Costera la Mar, down the city walls, the "Baixada dels Cristians" takes place on the beach, turned into an authentic camp where the Christians await the enemy.
Gunpowder becomes the queen of the night and the tranquillity of a summer night on La Vila’s coast is disturbed by hook guns, cannons, pyrotechnics... A real movie , without actors, but with real characters, on one hand vileros and vileras (local women and men) who wish to reach the promised land, on the other hand vileros and vileras who defend their home...
In the heat of the battle a white flag approaches the coast... the fire ends. The emissary of the Moorish King arrives before the Christian King and hands him the roll, asking for his surrender to avoid the battle.