Villajoyosa The Inauguration of the Kings
Spain is a country that has more fiesta days than anywhere else that I know of.
In Villajoyosa, we seem to have a Fiesta going on almost every other week. Some of them are little local fiestas, others are a huge affair that involves most of the town.
Some are so small that only one or two streets are taking part, but the larger ones can shut down the whole town for days at a time.
Moors and Christians
We are fast approaching our biggest fiesta of the year, the Moors and Christians Fiesta.
The week-long fiesta starts on the 24th of July. From the 24th to the 31st of July with something going on every day.
The publicity put out by the town about the Moors and Christians fiesta is minimal. Even when you know it is going on you cannot find out the details until about three weeks before the fiesta takes place.
I think that our Moors and Christians Fiesta must be about the largest one in Spain. We certainly have some of the most amazing costumes in our parades.
The Desembarco, which is a sea battle, takes place on Tuesday July 28th at 4:45am. Yes, you read it right 4:45 am, which is that little seen time just before the dawn breaks.
It is worth getting up that early to watch, but if you are like the locals it won't be a case of getting up early.
Most of those taking part and a good number of those who will be watching will just be carrying on from a full night of partying.
Sleep is not high on the agenda during Moors and Christians.
It is not just put on for the tourists
During the fiesta week, we have so much going on, and yet hardly anyone outside of Villajoyosa knows that it's happening.
Villajoyosa does not put this event on for tourists. The Moros y Cristianos is a traditional part of our town's cultural calendar put on for the enjoyment of the town's residents.
Even though the fiesta is only a week long event the work behind the scenes goes on year round.
To be King is an Honour
In the Fiesta, there is a Christian King and a Moorish King. It is a great honour to be chosen to be one of the Kings.
The inauguration of the two Kings took place on July 4th. Also inaugurated were the Capitanes de las Compaňiás which means the Company Captains.
The photographs below are of this year's (2015) Kings
Of course fireworks are involved throughout the proceedings. Though most of these fireworks are not the pretty display type firework but the extremely loud bang variety.
Sometimes, some of the loud bang variety fireworks are so loud that you can feel it. So, you not only hear the noise but you feel the boom vibrate through the concrete of the buildings windows rattle streets away.
The fireworks are so loud that when they go off that they set off car alarms in nearby cars.
I remember the first time I heard this type of firework, it was around 6 am and I was asleep in a hotel in Benidorm.
I thought a war had broken out overnight and we were under fire from the big guns.
Calling for the King
The Inauguration is the first time you will get the opportunity to see some of the costumes that will be worn during this year's fiesta.
Those chosen to be king really do look the part. Here in Villajoyosa it is possible for two men to be Kings not just for a day but for four weeks.
The fun begins when the brass band along with the King's followers, turn up outside the King's home.
The Band begins to play, and the crowd begin chanting for their King to come down.
Playing outside the Kings Apartment
Most people in Villajoyosa live in apartments, houses are pretty much restricted to the old town or the outskirts of the town.
When the crowd chants for the King to come down often the King will appear first on his balcony and wave to his loyal subjects.
Below is a photograph of the King on the pavement outside his apartment block. The King is greeting his subjects who are surrounding him.
Next photo is one of the King with the band that will precede him to the inauguration.ceremony.
The Kings Set off
Both Kings with their entourages set off from their homes to meet up in front of the Santa Marta Association Headquarters.
The Santa Marta Association is in charge of this fiesta and has been responsible for all the behind the scenes organisation.
They Are On Their Way
The Kings and Captains Arrive
The Kings and their entourages meet up outside the Santa Marta Association Headquarters. Then the whole procession moves on to where the inauguration takes place.
Santa Marta is our Town's Patron Saint. It is because of the part she played in saving the town from the Moorish invasion which this fiesta re-enacts.
After a few minutes, they arrive at the open-air venue that has been set up to hold the inauguration. The large crowd is already seated ready to watch the proceedings.
The honour of opening the proceedings went to dancers from some of Villajoyosa's dancing schools.
The dancers put on an amazing display of contemporary dance which delighted the audience.
The Captains Make their Entrance
After the dancing, each Captain made his or her grand entrance, lead onto the stage by a flag bearer.
Enter the Kings
Each Captain took their seat on stage in front of their King's throne. Each Captain's flag bearer placed the flag ceremonially into its holder on the stage.
Once all the Captains had taken their seats the two Kings made their grand entrance.
When each King sat upon his throne it was time for the speeches to begin.
The town officials made their speeches. Then it was the turn of the high-ranking representatives of the Association of Santa Marta to make theirs.
As they left the stage each of the Company Captains received a commemorative certificate. Each certificate was presented by an official from the Association of Santa Marta.
Time to Feast
Once all the inaugurations were compleat it was time to feast.
Members of the local community joined the Kings and Captains for a sit-down meal after which they partied until dawn.