Moors and Christians is such a special time of year in Guardamar del Segura. From the 15th to the 25th of July, a whole host of entertainment is on offer to visitors as the town pays its respects to Santiago Apóstol, also known as St James, San Jaime and Sant Jaume. There is so much going on that it’s almost impossible to take it all in, so here are some of the things that we at Anything But Paella think are unmissable! Apologies for the quantity of photographs (all from past fiestas), but if this doesn’t tempt you, nothing will!
At 11pm on Friday 15th July, you should head to Guardamar’s castle to witness a true spectacle of light, water and fire. The story of a young girl will unfold before you, which forms the basis of the legend of the Dama de Guardamar, the symbol of the town. She falls under a spell and can only be released by a brave warrior. The problem is that he first has to battle against the forces of evil, a dragon, in order to free her. The spell can only be broken if he bathes her feet in the River Segura. Fortunately he completes the quest and they live happily ever after. It is a magical thing to see, and don’t be put off by the fact that the commentary is in Valenciana; you don’t really need to understand it to be enchanted by what you see. Before the show starts the Fiesta Queen and her maidens of honour will be presented to the onlooking crowd during a ceremony for the flag bearers of the different groups of Moors and Christians from around the town.
On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July you will be able to see the groups of Moors and Christians parade through the streets of Guardamar from 8.30pm. The parades last a good few hours but time will fly as you stare in awe and wonder at the costumes on display. Following the parade on the Sunday night there will be a huge firework display on the beach.
On Monday 18th July you can experience what can only be described as sheer madness in the streets around the town hall from 10.30pm. There’s a truly medieval and macabre feeling in the air as devils dance through the streets in a shower of sparks from a multitude of fireworks. To the uninitiated it can feel a little unsafe and unsettling, but it’s actually a lot of fun!
In previous years there has been a Medieval Market on the approach to the castle. This year though, the market will be on Avenida Cervantes and have a fishy theme! It will be in full swing from 7pm each evening on Monday 18th, Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th July. There’s bound to be plenty to keep your hunger at bay.
GASTROTRUCK AND FUNFAIR
From Friday 15th until Sunday 17th there will be late night entertainment at the Reina Sofia park. The Gastrotrucks will tempt you with food from around the world while the funfair rides will challenge you to keep it down! There are also free music concerts on the stage, but they won’t start until midnight!! On the Saturday night you’ll be entertained by the fabulous Beatles tribute “The Liverpool Band“.
YOU WANT MORE?
There’s a fancy dress parade at 10pm on Saturday 16th. On Wednesday 20th you can see a theatrical re-enactment of the signing of the Treaty of Tudmir where the local territories were signed away to the Moorish leaders. There are various religious processions complete with the pomp and ceremony that the brass bands bring with them. On Thursday 21st at 8pm you can see a battle re-enactment where the Moors take the castle (actually the town hall!) whilst the Christians take it back the following night. At 1pm on Monday 25th there is a Mascletà outside the town hall in honour of the patron saint, San Jaime. That’s great if smoke and bangs are your thing! It really is party time in Guardamar for the entire fiesta. A big firework display on the beach brings everything to a close at 11.30pm on Monday 25th.
Just in case we’ve missed anything important, here’s the whole programme of events.