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.
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.
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.
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