The festivals of the Moors and Christians (or Moros y Cristianos in Spanish) are a highlight of Spain’s event calendar, but you can only find them in the southern parts of the Valencian Community.
If you’re in Javea in June, then you’re lucky to witness one of the country’s most lively festivals.
Javea’s Moors & Christians festival, like others, commemorates the reconquest of the region from Muslim rule with flamboyant parades, incredible dress, fireworks and full-on military landing and capture of a makeshift castle.
The Moros y Cristianos festival in Javea takes place at the end of July every year and is a spectacular summer treat for locals and tourists – see a list of events to watch below.
Also read: Javea Festivals
Picture credit: xabia.org
When is the Moors & Christians festival in Javea?
In the third week of July every year.
Where is the Moors & Christians festival in Javea?
What’s the highlight of the Moors & Christians festival in Javea?
The re-enactment of Christian troops landing on the Playa de la Grava, and eventually recapturing a castle constructed on the Paseo Jaime I.
Why are there only Moors & Christians festivals in the south of the Valencian Community?
The reconquest of the Valencian region took place almost 800 years ago – but the influence of the Moors is still very visible in the area around Javea.
Javea’s very name is derived from a Moorish word ‘Xabiga’ meaning well or cistern.
The names of other towns which start with ‘ben’ (as in Benitachell, Benissa, Benidoleig, Beniarbeig, etc.) are also Arabic in origin, with ben meaning ‘son of’.
After King James I of Aragon conquered Valencia in 1233 many Moorish populations remained and passed on the names of crops, agricultural techniques and foods to Christian populations – the Moors brought rice to the Valencian region, and this became the base of paella.
The Moors & Christians festivals began as religious festivals but began to take their present-day shape in the 15th and 16th centuries. While the Moors conquered nearly all of Spain, the festivals are concentrated in towns and cities along the southern coast of Valencia due to the continual presence of pirates from the Barbary coast who raided towns like Javea for centuries.
The Moros Y Cristianos festivals were both historical commemoration and military demonstrations against a very real threat – Javea’s church is one of the only ‘fort churches’ in the region, as it was built to defend the population during a pirate attack.
Today, there are no such threats. But instead it’s one of the biggest parties of the year in the port area of Javea, and one you can’t miss.
The Moors and Christians festival in Javea – late July
You can find the full Moros y Cristianos festival schedule on the Facebook page of Moros i Cristians de Xàbia. The relevant schedule should be published a few months prior to July each year.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect:
- Parades of spectacularly dressed Moorish warriors in the port, the Arenal and the old town of Javea
- Music concerts
- Flower offerings at the calle San Jaime in the old town of Javea
- Paella competitions in Calle Sevilla
- Mobile discos until 4 am
- Reenactment of the landing of the Moors at the Playa de la Grava, followed by a battle on the shoreline, and capture of a makeshift castle on Paseo Jaime I
- Re-creation of armed combat between Moors and Christians before Christians recapture the castle on Paseo Jaime I