Moros y Cristianos (Spanish: [ˈmoɾos i kɾisˈtjanos]) or Moros i Cristians (Valencian: [ˈmɔɾoz i kɾistiˈans]) literally in English Moors and Christians, is a set of festival activities which are celebrated in many towns and cities of Spain, mainly in the southern Valencian Community. According to popular tradition the festivals commemorate the battles, combats and fights between Moors (or Muslims) and Christians during the period known as Reconquista (from the 8th century through the 15th century).
The festivals represent the capture of the city by the Moors and the subsequent Christian reconquest. The people that take part in the festival are usually enlisted in filaes or comparsas (companies that represent the Christian or Moor legions). The festivals last for several days, and feature parades with bombastic costumes loosely inspired by Medieval fashion. Christians wear fur, metallic helmets, and armor, fire loud arquebuses, and ride horses. In contrast, Moors wear ancient Arab costumes, carry scimitars, and ride real camels or elephants. The festival develops among shots of gunpowder, medieval music, and fireworks, and ends with the Christians winning a simulated battle around a castle.
The most well-known Moors and Christians festival takes place in Alcoi (Valencian Community) usually in April, around the Feast Day of Saint George (Catalan: Sant Jordi, Spanish: San Jorge). According to legend, after James I of Aragon reconquered the city of Alcoi, the Moors, in turn, tried to recover it. As fighting was about to resume, Saint George miraculously appeared, and the frightened Moors scattered in defeat. Other traditions ascribe a miraculous saintly appearance to Saint James (Santiago), particularly at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa—sometimes guiding the Christians to surprise the Moors; else rallying Christian forces during the battle.
The Denia Moors and Christians Fiestas is held every August in honour of Saint Roc , the Patron Saint of Dénia.