Alcoy - The Festive Moros y Cristianos Festival

The festive Morros y Cristianos festival of Alcoy

Fireworks celebrating Spain's festivals

The Spanish Countryside is full of local fiestas and passionate traditions, but my very favorite is the fiesta of the of Moros y Cristianos. Celebrated along the warm and picturesque Levantine Coast, which spans from Castellon to Murcia, the fiesta of Moros y Cristianos is an occasion for the entire family to enjoy. The fiesta is not just a single occasion, but rather a holiday of sorts, celebrated in numerous towns over the summer months. Perhaps one of the most famous of these Moros y Cristianos celebrations is the Fiesta of Alcoy.

The story begins back in the year 1276, when the people of Alcoy were fighting a terrible battle against the troops of the feared Alazraq Caudillo, leader of the invading Moors. The story goes that when the towns people were loosing ground during the invasion, the figure of Saint George riding atop a horse and galloped along the top of the city walls. Alazraq Caudillo and his invading Moors got such a scare from the ghostly apparition that they ran off and left the battle. Ever since that day’s victory over the invading Moors, Saint George has been the Patron Saint of the city. Every year the towns people honor Saint George by celebrating and reenacting that fateful day back in 1276.

Celebrated on the 23rd of April, this fiesta lasts for four days and is filled with parades, merriment, and most importantly, with food. Some of the most traditional dishes served include Olletta (a stew made of beans, chorizo, and morcilla), Paella, and the special treat of Churros con Chocolate. Early in the morning, the fiesta starts with music and a large procession, complete with traditional costumes of Christians Troops. Following in the procession comes the king and queen of the Fiesta, which are dressed with replica gowns of the period made of velvet, silk, and trimmed with fur and gold. In the afternoon the Saracen troops come into town richly dressed with their tunics of Brocade and silk, and with their white turbans trimmed in gold and topped with a gold half-moon. At dusk, the armies, adorned with traditional costume, recreate the battle of Alcoy from 1276. It is very exciting and it feels like you have been transported in time. The night culminates with the most wonderful and huge fireworks display that you have ever seen. If you have a chance to go to Spain from April to September you will always find a town celebrating their traditional fiesta, and if you have the chance, visit Alcoy on the 23rd of April.

The fertile pastures of Asturias, Spain
a procession in Spain's most famous parade
The plaza in Spain

Recipes from Alcoy & the surrounding areas of Valencia & Alicante:

Paella Valenciana

Foods from Alcoy:

La Explanada Manzanilla Olives Stuffed with Anchovy - OL017
Manzanilla olives stuffed with anchovies create a combination that is simply irresistible. Extra-Large and stuffed with the perfect amount of anchovy to make the flavor pop!
Size: 12.3oz/350g net, 5.3oz/150g drained
Origin: Alicante, Spain
Details - La Explanada Manzanilla Olives Stuffed with Anchovy - OL017
La Explanada Manzanilla Olives Stuffed with Pimiento - OL018
Mildly flavored and not overpowering. The combination of Spains favorite olives and pimenton is simply delicious Extra Quality, size 240/260(Large.)
Size: 9.9oz/280g net, 4.2oz/120g drained
Origin: Alcoy, Spain
Details - La Explanada Manzanilla Olives Stuffed with Pimiento - OL018
Pedro Ximenez Sweet Vinegar - Gran Reserva 25 Year- VN009
This exceptional Gran Reserva semi-sweet vinegar is pressed from the rich, late-harvest Pedro Ximenez grapes grown in the south of Spain, and aged in American oak barrels.
Size: 6.8fl.oz/200mL
Origin: Montana de Mariola, Spain
Details - Pedro Ximenez Sweet Vinegar - Gran Reserva 25 Year- VN009
Masia El Altet Extra virgin Olive Oil - OO026
Rich, buttery, and full bodied, and not too peppery, the flavor is reminiscent of artichoke with hints of tropical fruit. 2012 Gold medal winner, LA International Olive Oil Competition.
Size: 17fl.oz/500mL
Origin: Alcoy, Spain
Details - Masia El Altet Extra virgin Olive Oil - OO026
soTaroni Estate Produced Olive Oil
100% Cold Mechanical Extraction from Arbequina Olives for a light fruity body and buttery character. Very smooth, and perfect for all your culinary uses.
Size: 17fl.oz/500mL
Origin: Alcoy, Spain
Details - soTaroni Estate Produced Olive Oil