Festival of Moors and Christians in Villajoyosa

Moors and Christians Festival in Vila Joiosa-La Villajoyosa

Festivity of International Tourist Interest

For a period of eight days the whole town takes a trip back into the past to re-enact in a truly spectacular way a battle that took place in 1538.

Moors and Christians is Villajoyosa’s most important festival. It’s one that’s been celebrated for over 250 years in honour of Santa Marta, and commemorates events that took place in 1538, when Barbary pirates commanded by Zalé-Arraez tried to attack the town. Tradition has it that Santa Marta came to the aid of the local people, causing a flood that swept the enemy ships out to sea preventing the corsairs from reaching the coast. In thanks, the town took Santa Marta as its patron saint, and each year these celebrations are held in her honour, with the re-enactment of the attack by the Moors as the key event.

The festivities begin with the magnificent processions which take place on the 25th and 26th of July. Both sides take part, slowly making their majestic way through the streets to the rhythm of the music from the accompanying band. At dawn on the twenty-eighth, there’s a re-enactment of the spectacular landing. People start heading down to the beach at around five o’clock in the morning, and as the Christians get their artillery ready to defend the coast, more than 30 Moorish boats approach the beach. When they land, the two armies fight until they reach the castle, which is finally occupied by the Moors. In the afternoon, the Christian troops return to reconquer the fortress: at first they call on the invaders to surrender, but the negotiations fail and a great battle ensues that ends with the defeat of the Moors, who are symbolically driven back into the sea.

Villajoyosa is full of joy and fun during these celebrations, and there’s also a huge variety of activities to enjoy, such as cooking competitions, firework displays and concerts. Moors and Christians festivals take place in many Spanish towns and cities and as all are based on local history, each one is original and different. What makes Villajoyosa stand out, and the celebrations here truly unique, is the re-enactment of the Moorish landing.

Moors and Christians Festival in Vila Joiosa-La Villajoyosa

03570  Vila Joiosa-La Villajoyosa, La Villajoyosa, Alicante - Alacant  (Region of Valencia)