I have just returned from an evening in Villajoiosa and my ears are still ringing from the gunfire as hundreds of Islamic gunmen prowled the streets, firing wildly. Yes, it is our wonderful local politically incorrect fiesta Moros y Cristianos, where half the town dresses up as the Moors and the other half of the town dresses up as Christians, and they drink a lot, fire guns and try and push the other side into the sea. Only in Spain! (Seriously, could you imagine this happening in Birmingham?)
I started off with the rather boring Catholic attitude of supporting the Christians, out of a natural loyalty, but in this kind of costume drama the Moors clearly have the more exciting visual appeal. This evening’s episode was the confrontation of Christians and Moors at the Moorish king’s castle and the Moors were beautifully arraigned in costumes that seemed more Inca than Islam, but hey ho, it’s only a carnival! Then the Moors were all pushed into the sea and it all ended happily with a Mass for Our Lady in the local church (seriously…)
The horse of the Christian king nearly bolted as he was being led away, due to the loud explosions all around, so I was glad I took the advice I had been given and did not walk Matilde and Rubi into Villajoiosa to take part in the festivities, as I originally had considered. The fiestas continue until the weekend with loads more Islam v. Christian rivalry and battles. If you want to dress up as an Islamic gunman, the shops all around town sell all the gear.
But honestly, can you imagine this anywhere else in the world?