Moors and Christians

Today, I have given a speech at Toastmasters about my birthplace’s festivities. Although I have written lots of times about it in this blog, and also share lots of pictures, I think this time I put the festivities more in context.

Year 1276. Many battles are taking place all over the Iberian Peninsula between the Moors, who have lived here for six centuries; and the Christians who are trying to re-conquer their once-ruled kingdom. One of these battles occurs in a valley in the East of Spain, in a small town in a strategic location near a river, that the Arabs call Alcoy. The Christians had already reconquered the city, but Mohammad Abu Abdallah Ben Hudzäil al Sähuir, a leading Arab Moorish Commander, also known as Al-Azraq, was besieging Alcoy with his Army. The Christians were suffering a scarce of food, and were about to be defeated… But they weren’t. They managed to kill Al-Azraq and the rest of his Army, and a legend says it was thanks to a knight on a white horse, called Saint George.

A couple of centuries later, Alcoy started conmemorating this divine help in the “Moros y Cristianos” festivities honouring Saint George, and they have become one of the most beautiful spectacles in Europe.

It all starts on April 21st in the evening, when more than 5000 alcoyanos and 20 bands of music, gather in the main square of Alcoy to sing the Festivities anthem. That moment is magic for me. I have goose pimples every single year… almost like when I give a speech in Toastmasters.

Moros y Cristianos Alcoy 2010

The following day is the day, the visitors enjoy at its most. it’s time for the Militar Parade. Both the Christian and the Moorish Armies show not only their military power with their soldiers, armors and weapons, but also their wealth with colorful dances, brilliant treasures, and virtuous musicians.

Moros y Cristianos Alcoy 2010

The last day is time for the battle, for the noise and for some theatre remembering the history… Thousands of kilos of gunpowder are shot by the two Armies, and Alcoy is covered by a thick cloud as a result. In the morning, the Christians fail to defend the castle against the Moorish Army, and in the evening, with Saint George’s help, they recover the City and Alcoy remain in peace for almost one year… (until next year’s festivities)

Moros y Cristianos Alcoy 2010

I know you are now thinking: “I cannot miss this spectacle full of colour, music, theatre and gunpowder. It sounds like a lot of fun”. You are lucky, because next year, these festivities are exceptionally on a weekend, so it is easier for you to attend. Book it in your calendars: second weekend of May 2011.

See you there.

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Moors and Christians | Historietas25/Jan/2015 12

    […] Another Toastmasters speech, recovered from the main blog. […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: