Moors and Christians festival
Mojácar - Almería

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The origin of these festivities is a historical event that occurred in the reconquest of Mojácar by the Catholic Monarchs following the taking of the Almería Levante region towns through capitulation and surrenders, in 1988 recovering the Moors and Christians Festivals, of which there is evidence were celebrated in the 17th and 18th centuries.

On the 10th of June 1488 there was the triumphal entry of the Catholic Monarchs into the region, establishing themselves in the “El Real” encampment, where they received homage from their Moorish Governors, who came to pay them respect. Only one did not kneel before his Majesties: Alavez from “Moxácar”.

The Monarchs, surprised by that absence, sent Garcilaso to ask the Governor for explanations.

In the place occupied by the Mojácar Fountain, at the foot of the town, Garcilaso’s interview with the Moorish chief took place. Following a courteous greeting, the former explained the annoyance and surprise that his inexplicable behaviour had caused their Majesties, and Alavez, with a respect not lacking in energy and with the dignity of a brave man, according to Hernando del Pulgar, told him:

“Christian, tell your Monarchs not to take our way of behaving as an insult. Pay attention to my words and faithfully explain to them my thoughts and the reason for my behaviour. I am as Spanish as you…

When those of my race have lived in Spain for more than 700 years, you tell us: – You are foreigners, go back to the sea… In Africa, an inhospitable coast awaits us that will tell us like you, and with more reason than you:

- You are foreigners, cross the sea from where you came and return to your land…

Here we are between two coasts that deny us neighbourhood and shelter…

Is this humane?…I never taken up arms against Christians. Tell your Monarchs thus, Allah is witness.

I believe it is fair that we are treated as brothers, not as enemies, and that we are allowed to continue working our lands – those of our fathers and grandfathers – and grazing our flocks.

If, as fame proclaims, Doña Isabel and Don Fernando combine the goodness of their hearts with their great virtues, I trust that they will know how to meet our demand. We promise loyalty to the Monarchs.

Otherwise, my people will do what they must… I, before giving myself up like a coward, will know how to die like a Spaniard… May Allah protect you…!”

Thus spoke Alavez, and saluting courteously and respectfully, he returned to his people.

Garcilaso conveyed these words to the Monarchs, who responded:

“Tell Alavez that we agree to his demand, having heard his noble reasoning, that we offer him our friendship and we trust that he will know how to reciprocate the mercy that we willingly grant him. May God protect him and all his people…”

This interview is the distinguishing fact that differentiates the Mojácar Moors and Christians festivals from others, the beautiful message of coexistence, of the encounter between cultures; “Without losers or victors”

The growth of this Festival has gone beyond borders, becoming an international tourism benchmark. Every June thousands of people come to enjoy the activities in beautiful Mojacar, the medieval tournament and procession by the sea, the nights of music and dance in Moorish and Christian encampments and the grandiose final gala parade.