According to the tradition in November 1859, the General Council of the Village of Bocairent, voted what should be the celebrations of should complete the religious festivity of ‘Sant Blai’, the following year were voted the festivities of Moors and Christians, probably influenced by the celebrations that were made in the neighboring Alcoy and the patriotic climate that was breathed after the victories in Morocco. From these first celebrations we have received the chronicle that the well-known member of the ‘Filà’ of Moors ‘Marins’ “el tio Belda el Vell” narrated, according to which the Captain Mayor was José Doménech Sanchís, for the ‘comparsa’ of ‘Tomasines’, it was a year disastrous climatologically speaking and the festivities had to be suspended until Easter.
Another chronicle, which was published in “El Rubí” on February 22, 1863 in Valencia, highlights the reference to seven ‘comparsas’ or companies: ‘Moros, Mosqueters, Granaders, Estudiants, Vizcaínos, Catalans y Mariners’, structured in two sides and counting each side with its respective Captain and Ambassador, this chronicle also allows to verify the antiquity of the ‘Moros Vells’, which along with the ‘Mosqueters’ and ‘Catalans’ configured the Moor side.
Undoubtedly the real origin of these festivities must be found in the ‘festa de la Soldadesca’ when King Felipe V in 1707 lifted the prohibition of the use of gunpowder in the festivities, this festivity of soldiery would begin to take importance in Bocairent from 1741 where the function of soldiery was in charge of the Company of Soldiers of the Villa, which was formed by ‘arcabusers, piquers and mosqueters, along the following one, that is to say the XIX, these militias became companies of ‘festeros’ or ‘filaes’: ‘Tomasines, Viscaínos, Mosqueters and Moros Vells’, who starred in the various acts of patronal festivities almost as we know them today.
In the year 2009, the 150th anniversary of this transformation of the soldier festivities was celebrated in Moors and Christians festivities, from those seven first groups came the current nine: ‘Espanyoletos, Granaders, Contrabandistes, Terç de Suavos and Estudiants’ on the Christian side and ‘Moros Vells, Marrocs, Moros Marins and Mosqueters’ on the Moorish side. Throughout these first 150 years the festivity has evolved as it is natural, despite the ‘festers bocairentins’ have managed to maintain the essence of these Moors and Christians who did not suddenly emerge and that were the heritage of a few celebrations that Bocairent had known to maintain and endure in time.
It will take place from February 2 to 6 and the schedule will be :
With the ‘Nit de Caixes’, the festivities begin; hundreds of ‘festers’ dressed in the traditional bocairentina blanket, the ‘tabalets’ and ‘farolets’ walk the most emblematic streets of the town with great noise to commemorate the patronage of Sant Blai since 1632.
The Entrance puts the touch of color to the parties. The Christian parade begins with its joyous ‘pasodobles’ to end, at nightfall, the parade of the Moorish side with its slow and emotional black marches.
DAY OF ‘PATRÓ SANT BLAI’
One of the most emblematic events is the Sant Blai day procession; it is necessary to emphasize the entrance in the place of the City council of the saint, the relic and the Scripture of Sant Blai, moment in which to the sound of the overturning of bells, all are united in a clamor: “Vitol to the Pattern Sant Blai”, they are extinguished the lights and an avalanche of small papers fall on the image.
MOORS AND CHRISTIANS DAY
The embassies of the fourth day are the staging of the parliament between Moors and Christians for the conquest of the castle. The day is marked by the large amount of gunpowder fired by the main streets of the municipality.
DAY OF ‘EL SANTO CRISTO’
The day of ‘Santo Cristo’ stands out for the rise in festivity of festive and musicians to the hermitage, which turns the path of Calvary into an immense cord of colors, and represents the “Despojo del Moro”.