Moors and Christians, the endless battle
The Mediterranean Sea coast has not always been an idyllic place to live. Four centuries ago it was a dangerous place. It is shown by different festivities of Moors and Christians, which recall several pirate attacks to Mallorcan villages, based on chronicles of the 16th Century.
Battles where the Turkish invaders disembarked to loot all the valuables of the coast towns and to capture its people to sell them as slaves. These festivals take place in coastal villages and the winners are always the Christians.
They are crowded feasts and stand out by the imaginative dresses and makeup of the Moors, the noise of battles often accompanied by the sound of shots and the music of xeremiers and other music bands, and for the passionate feelings among the neighbors of the village.
In Mallorca there are several battles between Moors and Christians. We order them by seasons.
The “Moros i Cristians” mock battle of Sóller is celebrated during the village festivities on the Monday after the second Sunday of May. This day is known as "Es Firó". It is one of the most important events of the Soller’s calendar.
It commemorates an attack of Turkish and Algerian pirates in 1561, repelled by the inhabitants and farmers of Sóller with the help of bandits and militias of the neighboring towns. Joan Angelats was the leader of the mallorcan resistance in front of the corsair’s attacks.
The simulacrum has four battles: Platja de Can Generós, Platja d'en Repic, Pont de Barona and the center of Sóller. The celebration ends with the proclamation of the victory of Christians over invading troops, the gratitude to the Mare de Déu de la Victòria and the singing of the balearic hymn “La Balanguera” in the town square.
A highlight of the Sóller’s Moros i Cristians is the role of "Les Valentes Dones" (The Brave Women), young women who managed to kill and frighten several invaders during the attack. Each year, two women of the municipality are elected as "Valentes Dones" and serve as ambassadors of the town.
The battle of the Moros i Cristians of Pollença is celebrated every year on the Mare de Déu dels Àngels day, the Patron of the village, on August 2. It is the most awaited event of the Pollença’s calendar and commemorates the attack of Turkish corsairs in Pollença on the night of 30th to 31th May 1550, also known as the Día de la Desgràcia (Day of Disgrace).
The mock battle between moors and christians takes place in the streets of Pollença from 7 p.m. It begins in Plaça de la Almoina, where the local hero, Joan Mas meet face to face with the boss of the pirates, Dragut and after a short fight screams "Mare de Déu dels Àngels, Assistiu-nos! Pollencins, alçau-vos! Els pirates són aquí!", an invocation that will lead to a first frontal clash between troops.
After different skirmishes and a final battle in the soccer field of Can Escarrinxo, the Christians win the battle by capturing the Saracen flag. After the battle, the Christians go to the parish, where they sing the Mossen Miquel Tortell’s tedeum and the Costa i Llobera’s “Puig Patrona”. The party ends in the square, where all together sing the hymn of the town “Visca Pollença”.
This simulacrum has been celebrated since 1860, according historical records, but it is suspected that the origin is even earlier. Those responsible for incarnating the protagonists of the battle change every year and are democratically elected by the people of the town after an election day held a month in advance.
Sant Elm Moros i Cristians festival, in the municipality of Andratx, also recalls the defense of this coastal town before the pirate invasions. Unlike the previous festivities, the Moors and Christians battle of Sant Elm have a large participation of children.
The mock battle takes place in Platja Gran, where pirate ships arrive with the intention of looting the town and gain control of the west of the island.
The town of Valldemossa has the most recent Moors and Christians festival of Mallorca. It is celebrated the first Saturday of october and the first edition took place in 2014. It recalls an attack of corsairs of 1552, neutralized by the men led by the christian’s captain Ramon Gual.
In the simulacrum, the pirates arrive at the town and they looted it, kidnapping a few women and the vicar, to whom pirates steal the chalice. Aina Creus, the grandmother of the beatitudes Santa Catalina Tomas, is the first person to resist, but is killed by the Moors.
Then, Ramon Gual leads the counterattack of the inhabitants of Valldemossa against the invader and get the victory. The simulacrum ends with the execution of the traitor, Pere Valencià, a character who guided the pirates to the town.