More than a hundred festivals celebrating the legendary battles between the Moors and Christians take place every year across Spain. The largest and most popular of these occurs in the beautiful Valencian mountain town of Alcoy.
Alcoy’s festival takes place on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of April. The first day is focused on processions, the second is dedicated to Saint George, and the third day sees noisy and chaotic recreations of the battle. The events are based loosely on King Jamie I’s victorious Battle of Alcoy in the 13th century.
At first, the festival’s name led me to believe that it celebrated the once-peaceful coexistence of the Christians and Moors (peaceful, at least, while under Moorish rule). I should have known better. Without trying to get too political, the existence of such a festival makes me wonder if a full healing of the rift between Arabs and Christians is even possible in southern Spain. I mean, the festival’s message is, “Hooray, we whooped your moorish ass”. How many centuries do we have to wait, before the bad blood evaporates? Or is Alcoy just throwing a fun party, to which I’m attributing too much meaning?
Unfortunately, we’re not going to make it this year to the fiesta, due to prior engagements. But Alcoy definitely seems to be worth a visit, fiesta or no fiesta. It has 60,000 inhabitants and is gorgeously nestled among a few mountain ranges. A day in the city & a day hiking around the mountains sounds like a pretty perfect weekend. From Valencia city, there is a bus which takes about an hour and 20 minutes, and costs €7.75.