This weekend saw the celebrations of the Moors and Christians, which is a fiesta specific to Mojacar, particularly the village of Mojacar (Mojacar Pueblo) rather than the beach (Mojacar Playa). The village is a collection of white houses, flats and hotels, divided by narrow, steep and windy streets, and it's set on top of a hill with an amazing view of the countryside and the beach down below. This expalanation of the fiesta is a direct quote from of the free papers and magazines that we can pick up in shops and resturants. "This popular event celebrates the agreement between the Catholic forces from the Kingdom of Granada who arrived on June 10th 1488, and the Arab inhabitants of Mojacar, whose Mayor Alabez met with emissaries and negotiated a peaceful settlement" Now you know as much as we did. The fiesta lasts from Friday til Sunday night, but we only went to the Friday night parade. You didn't need to know what it was about to enjoy it. The village plaza was surrounded by colourful market stalls. There were special street lights and flags everywhere, and folk were wondering about in costume. There was a lovely carnival atmosphere. Everyone was there to just enjoy themselves, including us. At around 8.00p.m. we drove to the back of the village and parked the car. It is a fairly steep, but thankfully short, climb up the hill to the plaza where we sat and enjoyed a glass of wine and watched the sun set behind the distant mountains. Then we explored the market stalls, and the narrow streets that gradually lead down to the village fuente. At around 10.30 there was the sound of blunderbusses announcing the arrival of the Catholic forces, and about half an hour later the first troops arrived at the plaza. Each group of soldiers had their own colourful costumes, banners and music, and most had a troop of pretty girls as well! The costumes ranged from quite simple cotton smocks to the most elaborate cloaks and head gear, encrusted with jewels and decorated with feathers and beautiful embroidery. It is impossible to do them justice here so I have put a selection of them in my gallery. The leaders of each group fired their blunderbus (they were all showing off the scorch marks on their arms and hands afterwards), and carried burning flares. Some were bright red and they illuminated the streets and left a trail of scarlet smoke. I love the fiesta music out here, and their were several bands marching between the groups of soldiers. When they were all assembled on the plaza, the two leaders did long speeches on the platform, presumably the reconciliation speeches, and this ended with some fireworks being set off from the roof of one of the highest hotels. I discovered a special setting for fireworks on my camera and I was pleased with the pictures I took using it. Then the people in costume mingled with the crowd, posing for photographs and talking to the visitors. Reporters and cameras were there so I expect it was covered by the local news. We went home at about 12.30 and as we walked back to the car we passed hoards of young people just arriving for the open air discos etc that probably went on all through the night.
On Saturday afternoon there were horse parades and jousting matches down on the playa, but it was thundery and hot so we didn't go down to it, and the main parade was last night when we were taking Jean and Dorothy back to the airport. That was actually quite good as we still have something new to see there next year, instead of just the same thing all over again. It was difficult to take photos in the flickering light. There was so much movement, and all the sparkles on the costumes reflected the light. But all three of us had cameras so I downloaded Jean and Dorothy's pictures as well as my own, and I have picked out the best few to make a 'Moors and Christians' folder on my gallery, (www.picasaweb.com/kayempea1947), so feel free to browse through them and get a better idea of what it was like.