Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos
Benalaurîa is one of the villages that most attention pays to its traditions from the past and keeping them alive and to creating a beautiful urban environment.
One of the most outstanding events of the year is its Feria (held in the first week in August),and dedicated to the Patron Saint of the village “Santo Domingo de Guzmán”. The fantastically exciting Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos performance is part of the schedule and has been granted the recognition by the Spanish State as a Fiesta de Interês Turîstico Nacional in Andalusia. This event recreates the situation that the village went through in the XVth century. It was recuperated at the end of the last century based on some updated historical documentation and thanks to this the village has been able to re-live some of the moments of its greatest glory. The story is based on the Mudejar uprising in the Serranîa in 1501 and the attack of the village that led to part of it being occupied by the Moors, who took control of the Town Hall and the Patron Saint. During the first scene, the Christians kidnap the children of the Moorish leader. The Moors took to their horses and charged all over the area exchanging a kind of aniseed drink for money in order to liberate the prisoners and once the ransom money was ready the children were set free.
In the second part, the Moors and Christians agree to exchange the children for the image of the Patron Saint, but when the Moorish leader goes to collect his children the deal falls apart. This event allows the Christians to regain control of the Town Hall and the Patron Saint. With this sudden change of events the Moors are forced to covert to Christianity, but the Moorish leader refuses and abandons the village in defeat. This brings the rescue to an end.
Perhaps the most outstanding feature of this whole performance is the way that the historic records that are available about the original event have been followed as closely as possible, both as for the story and the costumes of those who participate. What is also very worthy of special mention is the way that the whole village collaborates in the putting together of the performances, as web as their excellent theatrical work. All this has meant that this Festival has become quite famous as a unique event not to be missed. It was in 1991 that a group of neighbours was formed to co-ordinate and promotes this popular and historic event. It was also deemed necessary to update the texts, the dialogues, and to introduce some changes, so, it was at this time and because of these demands that the Asociación de Moros y Cristianos de Benalaurîa was created.