Moors and Christians at Vila Joiosa
Vila Joiosa will host its “Moors and Christian” festivities in honour of Saint Martha, which have been declared to be of international touristic interest, in late July.
The origins of this festivity go back to a miracle that took place in July 1538, when the Barbary pirate Zallé Arraez attempted to invade the town and an impressive flood fell upon the region, causing the river Amadoiro to overflow and destroying the Saracen fleet at its mouth. This prodigious event was attributed to Saint Martha, and she was since adopted as the patron saint of the town.
A century later, when the region suffered a great drought, the so-called Miracle of the Tears of Saint Martha took place: on May 8, 1653, while a mass was being held, the image of the saint began to cry tears at the very moment in which Phillip IV was signing a document, authorizing the construction of a basin in Relleu. In 1753, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the miracle, the local authorities decided to host a number of festivities, leading to the Moors and Christians festivities of Vila Joiosa.
The official entrance of the Musical Bands on the first day of the festivities, the spectacular parades by Christians and Moors, as well as the embassies, the retaking of the Castle, the solemn procession to Saint Martha or the pyrotechnical and musical fireworks castle launched from the Central beach are among the most remarkable events in the festivities.
Nevertheless, the apex of the festivities is the Moorish Landing, held on the morning of July 28, which is a naval battle between Moorish and Christian ships, after which the Moors leap to the water and swim to the shore to conquer the castle to the sound of music and muskets being fired.