Calpe Fiestas - Battle of Christians and Moors

From the 17th to the 22nd of October

The people of Calpe has been celebrating the feast of the Santísimo Cristo del Sudor, the patron saint of Calpe, with great solemnity since 13th March 1682. In that year, the statue of Christ crucified started to sweat and to shed tears before the astonished gaze of the townspeople, a miracle which led them to adopt Christ as their patron saint. The statue was a gift from the then Archbishop of Valencia San Juan de Ribera.

Calpe, Spain
Calpe, Spain

The feast used to take place on the second Friday of March until halfway through the last century when this date was substituted for 22nd October to commemorate the facts that occurred on that day in 1744.

The Moors, in league with Moncófar, a Muslim who had grown up among the Christians and had proved a traitor, launched an attack on the village.
Moncófar" tried to smuggle the Moors into the village, but due to the watchfulness of Caragol Jeronimo Ferrer Mulet, who managed to confront the Berber corsairs and close the gates to the village apparently with help from the Santisimo Cristo del Sudor, Moncofar's attempts failed. All the men of Calpe were busy working in the fields or in the sea while Caragol saved the whole population of the town.

Recently the parades and the other festive elements of the Moors and the Christians, with their filaes, the Masked, Tuaregs, Berbers, Caliphs and Almoravids on the Moors side and the Marine Corsairs, Knights Templar, Crusaders, Almogavares, Smugglers and Mozarabs on the Christian side, have been merged with the festivities adding a touch of colour to the fiesta.

Battle on the Beach
Battle on the Beach
Battle in the Town
Battle in the Town

Two battles were fought between the Moors and Christians. The first on the beach of Arenal where the Moors disembarked from their magnificent ships and the Christians were awaiting their onslaught, but after a tremendous battle the Moors cried victory. The gala parade and the spectacular fireworks displays are set off from the beach. The second battle started with the children’s cry of “foc en Ifach, moros en la costa” - "fire on the Ifach, Moors on the coast". The Moors attempted to enter the village, but Caragol managed to shut the gates upon them.

Both skirmishes are re-enacted during the Calpe fiestas. The "Playa del Arenal" is the stage for the “Desembarco” - "disembark" - during the morning and at night, a castle is built evoking the scene of the "Parlamento" - "battlefields".

Traditional religious celebrations such as the staging of the Miracle, the Offering of Candles to the Santísimo Cristo del Sudor in the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, the Open-Air Mass and the Solemn Religious Procession, plus unceremonious processions, called "Entraetes" are held along with celebrations of musical acts and firework displays.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Climbing InfachFishing PortMarina Alta CoastlineIfachThe Olde Quarter
Climbing Infach
Climbing Infach
Fishing Port
Fishing Port
Marina Alta Coastline
Marina Alta Coastline
Ifach
Ifach
The Olde Quarter
The Olde Quarter

Ifach measures 332 m in height. The area has been transformed into a National Park to protect its unique vegetation and over 300 species of animals to include colonies of seabirds.

The peak can be reached by a zigzag track, which is compulsory climbing for anyone anxious to see the panoramic view of the Marina Alta Coastline (see first picture).

At the foot of Ifach is the fishing port, which comes to life as the afternoon fish auction draws near.

Next to the seafront promenade are the remains of a fish-salting factory from the Roman times.

Fiestas in Calpe

  • Fallas Fiesta in March
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmelo in July
  • Patron Saint Festivities in August
  • Christians and Moors in October

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Comments 15 comments

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

Fascinating Haunty, it must have been a momentous occassion. Have you been and witnessed these celebrations?


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures. Calpe looks like a pretty awesome place. I'd like to visit some day - so many places, so little time...

Thanks for sharing..


Not Telling profile image

Not Telling 7 years ago from Eastern Nowhere

This reminds me of the island in the novel, "Captain Corelli's Mandolin". In the story, the long-dead patron saint plays an active role in local affairs. Maybe it's not really similar, I don't know, but Calpe reminds me a lot of my mind's eye picture of the island on which the story of the novel takes place.

Very much enjoyed this article, thank you.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Haunty, pretty good recount, you had me thinking you'd been there yourself! I only realize that wasn't case from your comment! Well done!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Pretty cool Hub, man. I enjoyed your writing about the history and the photos were great, too. Thanks.


Haunty profile image

Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary Author

Thanks, DynamicS. I think it'ssome great place to visit too. But who knows what will be up when I get around to travel next time. :)

NT - Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks. It's a good thing you found similarities with the novel. :) Maybe I should read it.

Elena - Thanks for stopping by. Reminds me I'm still to read your library hub (bookmarked), which promises to be great just by the looks of it. :)

Hi James! Actually I was told about this event a long time ago and then just recently I've seen these pics in google search. So I thought it was a good hub idea. Thanks for the read.


Charia Samher profile image

Charia Samher 7 years ago

Here in the Philippines we had this "Moro-Moro" which was popularized by the Spaniards during their 300years of supremacy over the Philippines. It is also performed during fiestas to entertain people and to remind them of their Christian religion.


Haunty profile image

Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary Author

Charia - hey :) Moro-Moro? That's interesting. Are there Muslims in the Philippines or is it just something like good vs. bad?


Charia Samher profile image

Charia Samher 7 years ago

There are Muslims too, mostly in Mindanao region. The story in "Moro-Moro" usually revolves around a Christian princess who is captured by the Moros or Moors. Then the father of the princess will organize a group to rescue his daughter. There will be a fight between the Moros and the Christians. In the end the Moros are defeated by some divine intercession and they are converted to Christianity.


Haunty profile image

Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary Author

Thanks for the story, Charia. It sounds kinda similar to Calpe then. Religious fun and divine intervention! :)


Charia Samher profile image

Charia Samher 7 years ago

Yes it is similar, that's why I thought of it while reading this. Thanks. =)


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

Nice Hub Haunty... You need to get your partner to also be as dutiful Lol.. so you both get a chance to see this place and experience the fiesta. It looks awesome and so far from NZ. Great photos & well writen Sir. Thank you.


Haunty profile image

Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary Author

Thanks for the criticism, Pearldiver. :)


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

I really enjoyed this Hub - thanks.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

great place to visit. thanks for sharing with us. I'll go there someday.

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