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Moors and Christians Festival

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Teulada Moraira celebrates a number of Spanish Fiestas and Festivals.
Amongst the most popular of these are the Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) festivals.
The Moors and Christians festivals are celebrated across Spain, but are most popular in the Marina Alta region of the Costa Blanca.
They are held to celebrate and commemorate the battles between the Moors (Muslims) and the Christians during a period in history known as the Reconquista: from the 8th to the 15th century BC.
With an 800 years period where the Muslims and the Christians occupied the same areas together, there is a great deal of history upon which to draw.
The Moors and Christians festivals reconstructs the time when the advancing Moors captured the city and the ensuing battles when the Christians took the city back.
The festivals last for several days, with people acting out the battles, dressed in colourful Medieval-style costumes: Christians dressed in fur, with metallic hats and riding horses, while the Moors are dressed in Arab-style costumes, carrying large swords and riding camels or elephants, themselves dressed in colourful outfits.
The Moorish costumes are favoured by many children because they are far more elaborate and colourful.
As well as this, many people living on the coast of Spain can trace their ancestors back to the Moors.
The Moors were largely Arabs, although there were a number of North African Berbers, settled along the coasts of Spain.
As the first invaders were all male, they soon met and married local Christian women.
As well as the people who participate actively in the festival, by wearing the costumes and re-enacting the battles, many other people take part by hanging traditional Christian or Muslim symbols, such as coats of arms and banners, from their houses.
The festival starts with the Moors coming on-shore and battling with the locals.
They proceed to attack the castles and force out the Christians.
The Christians then re-group and re-battle, this time, overpowering the Moors and taking the castle back.
A Moors and Christians festival is typified by cannon fire, very loud music and fireworks and provides an understanding of many of the customs and place names still in place in modern-day Spain.
Along the Costa Blanca there are a great many towns starting with Beni-, such as Benidorm, Benitatchell and Benimarco.
These place names are of Moorish origin.
In addition to leaving their marks on place names, the Moorish people introduced the Europeans to a large number of the foods and spices still popular today, such as oranges, lemons, bananas, sugar-cane, grapes, peaches, apricots, aubergines and rice.
The Moors also left behind an enviable architecture.
Many small towns and villages still have monuments and towers originally built by the Moors as well as a fine display of mosques.
The most famous mosque in Spain is the Mosque of Cordoba.
The Moors and Christian festival provides and excellent opportunity for tourists and holidaymakers to mingle with the locals and celebrate this important time in Spanish history.
Not only that, but it is a great opportunity to get dressed up and act out a battle, before retiring for some excellent food and drink.
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