Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians Festival). Alfarnate. September. Unique Festival
This festival has been declared to be of Tourist Interest by the Provincial Council of Málaga.
Please check with the local Town Hall or Municipal Tourism Office for the festival date before planning any sightseeing activities.
The Enmedio, Palomera and Jobo mountain ranges make up the natural ring surrounding Alfarnate, a Málaga municipality in the Axarquía region. Its winding, narrow, steep streets, especially in the "Barriche" quarter (also known as "Barrio Alto"), unveil its Arabic origin and provides the ideal setting for a performance that is still part of the tradition in many Andalusian villages.
"La Embajada" (also known as Moors and Christians Festival) has been celebrated in Alfarnate since the 17th century, emerging on the occasion of the Reconquista of Granada by Christian troops and the subsequent expulsion of the Moorish.
The text behind the play is a romance called "Las Relaciones" ("The Relationships" in Spanish) by an unknown author. In three scenes, it tells the story of the robbery and conquest of the Virgen de Monsalud by Moorish and Christian troops.
Alfarnate seems to travel back in time during the festival to become a medieval village where Christian and Moorish quarters can easily be recognized. Over 400 people enjoy the festivities in traditional costumes to remember their conquest by the Christian troops.
On the Saturday before the festival of the Patron Saint, the blunderbuss salute opens the festivities. The most anticipated event takes place in the afternoon, which is when the Moorish troops will try to steal the sacred image of the Virgen.
Four actors, three for the Moors side and one for the Christian, narrate the story from a stage set up in the church square.
After several skirmishes, the Christian forces will finally retrieve the sacred image and force the Moors to return it to its temple.