The 5 Top Events & Festivities in Mojácar
Fiestas you should definitely not miss when visiting Andalusia
Fiestas you should definitely not miss when visiting Andalusia
In Andalusia (and thus in Mojácar as well) there are lots of Fiesta’s – almost every weekend one – but we herewith present the 5 Top Events in Mojácar, you definitely shouldn’t miss this year! Usually, the good name of some Saint is used to put away a lot of beer, wine and delicious regional dishes.
We had always believed, Spaniards were ultraconservative and celebrated in the name of faith. Far from that! Just like many others, they are more concerned about their physical wellbeing than catholic fundamental thoughts.
We herewith present a short overview of the Top 5 Events, you definitely shouldn’t miss when on holiday in Andalusia:
This event runs out of the competition and doesn’t rank among the Top 5. In reality, every event of this three-day honouring is a top event by itself. So, we’ll start with this event and will come to the top 5 events further down – the 5 top events apart from the Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos, that is.
Mojácar’s still very tangible roots emanate from a rich and diverse cultural heritage that will forever influence the physical appearance of its people and the character of the inhabitants.
At the beginning of the 8th century, the Iberian Peninsula was invaded and occupied almost completely by the Arab army. Berber tribes from today’s Marocco, Tunisia and Algeria made up a major part of the forces. Because of their dark skin colour, these people were called Moors – deriving from the Greek word “mauros” (= dark).
Subsequent to the occupation, the “Reconquista” began – the reconquest of Spain by Christian forces that lasted 700 years.
As legend has it, the Catholic kings Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile sent an envoy to Mojácar on 10th June 1488. “I am as Spanish as you are”, the Moorish mayor of Mojácar is said to have replied to the envoy, who urged him to return to Africa. “Treat us like brothers, not like enemies.”
After handing over the city to the Christians, Mojácar’s inhabitants were permitted to continue cultivating their lands.
There were no winners or losers and the essence of this peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between the cultures and religions, between Moors, Catholics and Jews, still flows through the veins of Mojácar’s people today.
The “Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos” in Mojácar has its origin in the above-mentioned historical events. It is celebrated on a weekend around 10th June every year.
The fiesta is expected and prepared with increasing anticipation throughout the year. The entire city is divided into different guilds, the “Cábilas”, who parade through the streets dressed in elaborate and faithful costumes as Arab and Christian soldiers and commanders.
The highlights of the festival are the processions through the main streets celebrating the entrance of the Christian troops into the city, showing fights and riding games at the beach, as well as the procession celebrating the withdrawal of the Moorish troops.
Actors, musicians, horsemen, dancers, commanders, troops, and many, many more ingredients add to a spectacle of colour, noise, and jollity enthusing its spectators like a story from Arabian Nights.
Here you can get a small impression of Mojácar’s most important medieval festival, for which we turn night into day for three subsequent days (or nights).
… now, let’s talk about the other
Each year, on 28th February, we celebrate the main event in Andalusia, the Día de Andalucía. This day marks Andalusia’s vote for a Statute of an Autonomous Community back in 1980. The day starts with the raising of the flag, all green and white and singing the Andalusian anthem.
The fiesta is celebrated in two ways:
The day is either spent meeting family and friends for lunch at someone’s house, probably somewhere in the countryside. The meal is always followed by drinks. And as one “Copa” very rarely remains alone, it tends to be quite an extended lunch. So, it’s not at all unusual that the remains of the lunch are then shared in the evening. Probably not a bad idea after all that alcohol in the afternoon… At the end of the evening, you’ll probably be hanging around suffering from sudden deafness, because Andalusian family gatherings are far from being quiet and relaxed. Or to put it in the words of a face cream packaging, the gathering would rather be refreshing and invigorating 🙂
The other way is to meet outside on the street (by the way, Andalusians spend half of their lives “en la calle”), normally on the market square of the village. This is where all people meet who want to spend the day figuring out what the villagers do. Or they bring their entire family along. A ginormous paella is served on the plaza behind the church in Mojácar. Bars around the square provide drinks. As the paella is offered free, you can well imagine, that there’s always quite an impressive queue as soon as the paella is served at 14:00 pm. For about two hours you can chat, gossip, have one or two beers and enjoy the paella. In general, it’s the same as celebrating with family and friends at home – nobody wants to break up the convivial get-together and, therefore, hours later you find yourself sitting in a bar with delicious tapas and more beer – or wine. Have I ever mentioned that people like to have a booze here 🙂
In mid-May, the Mojaqueros make a pilgrimage in honour of San Isidro to Sopalmo, a small hamlet located between Mojácar and Carboneras. This is the most important pilgrimage in our region and is very traditionally solemnised. A procession of floats and trailers richly decorated with flowers are followed by foot, car, motorbikes, and any other means of transport, you might happen to have. Needless to say, the happening is accompanied by both appropriate music as well as enthusiastic horn beeping. Once the procession has arrived in Sopalmo, family, and friends gather to feast on food and drinks that have been brought along. Celebrations including traditional music continue well into the night, with people dancing and laughing.
This is the Christian version of the heathen Midsummer night party.
Usually, the people of Mojácar celebrate this party on the beach as well. However, we don’t eat freshly caught North Sea crab. Instead, people usually start barbecuing in the late afternoon. Large groups of families and friends meet each other to become “victims” of the biggest virtue, the enjoyment of wine and food.
As soon as it gets dark, people light large bonfires on the beach. People dance, drink, play music, and eat some Manchego cheese or Iberian ham. The highlight of “Noche de San Juan” is around midnight, when all partygoers dive into the sea. To welcome the longest day of the year, to rinse sins, to cool off and to become sober enough to continue the party …
In 2023, we celebrate this relatively “new-fashioned” local party on the 02.09. And on this night, the city government turns off all electric lights to allow visitors to Mojácar to admire the starry sky in all its splendour and beauty.
The city radiates in the warm, muffled light of the candles. Shops and restaurants are open and light their buildings exclusively with candles. The smell of warm wax blows through the streets. Fire-eaters and other fire artists impassion the visitors. It is a wonderful and very special night in Mojácar.
This Fiesta includes all kinds of festivities in honour of the patron saint of Mojácar, Saint Augustin. All over the village, there are sports activities and Carnival until the early hours. Highlights are the “Corridas de Cintas”, a kind of equestrian games (tilting at the ring and getting the ribbons down). The women of Mojácar wear their historical costumes and bring water and flowers as a sacrifice to the church. They carry the water on their head in traditional clay cans. Also, this party is also accompanied by music, dance, food, and drinks …
Here’s video to give you an impression of the festival, the traditional costumes, and how rapidly a Spanish TV presenter can speak 🙂
But more important than Christmas and all the other fiestas for Mojaqueros, as for all Spanish people, remains the Holy Week that climaxes in the time between Holy Thursday and Palm Sunday. The most important procession takes place on Good Friday.
The congregation follows a statue of Jesus Christ bearing his wooden cross down the narrow cobbled streets of the village. The parade is followed by municipal bands that accompany the procession with adequate solemn music.
Of course, Mojácar has its own corresponding Easter processions. However, if you want to attend a really impressive parade, we highly recommend watching the procession in our neighbouring town Lorca. We’ll be happy to take care of everything, including a display with the sweet and delicious Roscos we would eat for Easter – all you need to do is to let the festive atmosphere engulf you.
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