The last two weeks have been filled with Chella Festivities - folk dancing, paella contests, fireworks, 5km walks at midnight, Foam Fiesta (yes - foam!) and finally last night the Moors and Christian's parade celebrating the history of the area. They take place mainly in the southern Valencian Communities and according to popular tradition the festivals commemorate the battles, combats and fights between Moors and Christians during the period known as Reconquista (from the 8th century through the 15th century)...
According to Wikipedia the term "Moors" has referred to several historic and modern populations of Berber, Black African and Arab descent from Northern Africa, who came to conquer, occupy and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed other religions. They called the territory Al Andalus, comprising most of what is now Spain and Portugal.
The Moors' rule stretched at times as far as modern-day Mauritania, West African countries, and the Senegal River which explains why most of the Moorish costumes in the parades are very African - with tall head dresses and African Warrior spears, shields and masks.
Pictures and some video clips from the parade are below and it gives you a bit of a feel for the atmosphere of the evening. Everyone lines the streets in a very social event. Every event is well supported and the whole town comes out to join in - often celebrating until after 03.00 in the morning.
Folk Dancing was held in a little area at the end of where the market starts in the "Paseo" and where a small square can be formed in the street to allow room for the dancers. Everyone brings chairs and sits ready for the entertainment and all the bars serve refreshments and also put out seats.
|Start of the Parade for Chella|
|Stilt walkers and African Masks|
|The scary "rear view"!!|
|For some reason, pirates seem to be a very popular part of the parade?!|
These dancers were amazing - they had a whole routine that they did all along the street and as soon as they finished one section they would start again. On a hot and humid night they did a great job and they had put together a good routine. They can be seen "in action" below!
One of the choreographed dances in the Moors and Christians parade...
One of the drummed "marches" through the town in full costume...
We also found a fabulous little walk at a local dam in Navarrés, two villages along from us. There are a few wonderful spots where the dogs can get in the dam for a swim and they run, play, roll and chase
each other through the water. Throw in a treat and they will swim right out and with the bouncing in the shallows it's a good work out for them. The colour of the water is just amazing, I can only think that there must be some copper or some such that helps produce the amazing green hue.