11 May 2009

Illustrating "Moros y Cristianos" in San Vicente, take 2: Embajada Mora

Next instalment illustrating the crazy Moros y Cristianos festivities in San Vicente del Raspeig. I'm afraid the quality of the pics isn't as good as the others, they were taken with a small compact camera at night, but it gives you an idea of the going-ons.

So what's happening here basically represents the Moors' victory over the locals during the invasion, in this case by taking over the "castle". It all starts around midnight with members from each "comparsa" walking through the main streets of the town shooting their "trabucos" into the air (just with gunpowder). "Christians" followed by "Moors" who are supposedly chasing them out of town. They all end up coming to the plaza where the stage has been set for the final battle. First the Moorish Captain sends his Embassador to the Christian Captain offering terms of surrender (he is rudely sent away). Then the Captain comes in person and exhorts the good people of San Vicente to not listen to their Captain as he will get them all killed. The Moorish Captain promises to spare their lives if they surrender. Of course they don't (where would the fun be in that?!) and so the plaza is cleared, the Christian Captain and the leaders of his troops (particularly his Alferez) head out to prepare for battle. The "soldiers" arrive at the plaza amidst loud explosions and a very strong gunpwder smell. Then the two Alférez and the two Capitanes duel it out respectively, and the Castle is taken. Of course all this happens again (in a reverse situation) a few days later when the "Christians" re-conquer the "castle".

Representatives of the Christian "Comparsas" entering the "Castle":
Christian Captain and Alférez above with heads of the different Christian "Comparsas" awaiting the Moorish envoys:
Moorish Embassador:
Moorish Captain giving his speech:
Waiting for the "battle":
A member of the troops with his weapon ready to re-load:
Duel between Captains:
The Captain / King and his Alférez take possetion of the "Castle":
Overview of the plaza:
Troops (loudly) saluting the victory:
Members of the Benimerines Comparsa celebrating the capture of the "Castle":
You can find some more of these on my Flickr page here. And below is a short sequence filmed with a friend's camera... might help you get a better feel for the noise level. ;o) (we were standing at the corner where it all ended, by the time they reached us they were supposed to be practically out of gunpowder.


  1. Thanks for taking us along, once again. We would never have the opportunity to be a part of the festivities without you!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! There's one more set of photos I'll put out and then it's done. I couldn't join in for the final fiesta days as they were during the week... but am really glad I got to see this part for the first time, I always miss it for some reason!

    This is quite a unique -and crazy- holiday, characteristic of the province of Alicante.... and it's sooo much fun! :o)

  3. Nicely done. These festivals are often difficult to depict photographically particularly after dark. You sure gave us the feel for the even though.

    Thanks for your visit to my blog today. Your kind words are much appreciated. :)

  4. High praise from someone with such gorgeous photos on her Blog, thanks!

    Nightime shots make me particularly happy I switched to digital... since only a small fraction of them ever come out halfway decent! When I think of all the film I used to waste... (when I could afford it).

    I'm going to try to get the third and final set out today... if a tennis final doesn't get in my way... :p


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