Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians)
Held all over the city throughout the year, this Alicante festival celebrates the ancient Christian crusades to defeat the Moors in order to regain the lands taken by them.
Different groups such as the templars, zulus, "almoradies", "maseros", pirates or peasants dressed in lavish costumes parade in rows into Alicante city in a spectacular show accompanied by the numerous music bands from the province.
This lively Alicante festival is held on the previous days to Ash Wednesday. The whole city is distinctively embellished for this festivity, characterised for being non-comercial, participative, open to all, full of satire, plural, self-managed and democratic.
The highlights of the Carnival in Alicante are the "Sábado Ramblero", where the Rambla avenue in Alicante becomes a huge carnival costume procession like a masquerade ball, Carnival Tuesday with a parade along the old town, and the Burial of the Sardine on Ash Wednesday where diverse carnival fraternities march through the city in a funeral wake to incinerate the sardine.
Semana Santa (Easter)
Easter is a religious celebration held in either March or April each year. It lasts from Palm to Resurrection Sundays with 27 fraternities participating in parades along the city. The brotherhoods carry the so-called "pasos" (kind of floats), incredibly genuine and convincing works of art made by celebrated sculptors such as Bussi or Salzillo.
The most devoted "Semana Santa" procession in Alicante is the one happening on Holy Wednesday going along the steep and narrow streets of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood.
A well known float is the "paso de la Santa Cena" (Holy Supper float) carried by more than 200 bearers on the Holy Thursday parade. This is a massive heavy sculpture weighing 500 kilograms.
Hogueras de San Juan (St John's Bonfires)
The "Hogueras de San Juan" festival, held in Alicante on the night of the 24th to 25th of June, St John's night, is a celebration of International Touristic Interest commemorating the arrival of summer with a cult to fire. A crowd goes out to celebrate this festivity surrounded by a display of bonfires, colour and music.
The origins of this well known festivity are remote. It is characterised by the habit of burning non valuable objects dancing around a bonfire to celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice. There are parades, music and dance performances, gastronomy and bullfights as well as multitude of activities in Alicante from the 20th to the 24th of June that make the city a stage of enjoyment to welcome the summer season.
Porrat de San Antón (St Anthony's Market)
The "Porrat de San Antón" or St Anthony"s Market is held in the Alicante neighbourhood named after the saint, where the most beautiful and ancient church of the quarter was located. The "porrat" happens on 17th January (St Anthony"s Day), when people take their animals with them to get blessed in the nearest bullring where an animal show also happens.
The "porrat" or market is really like a traditional small fair selling dried fruits and nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, raisins, chestnuts), quince jelly, sugared fruits, dried chickpeas and a nougat known as "turrón de novia" (bride"s nougat); all of those were part of the "mocaor d"herbes", a present expected by brides from Alicante from their fiancés.
Peregrinación de la Santa Faz (The Pilgrimage of the Holy Visage)
This "romeria" or pilgrimage happens the Thursday following Easter Resurrection Sunday. This is the second most famous romeria after the Rocío pilgrimage in Andalusia. Around 200,000 people dressed in orchard working clothes walk in hordes to the "Santa Faz" monastery to worship the virgin. There are also a fair, an arts and crafts market and picnic lunches nearby.
Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses)
The "Cruces de Mayo" are held from 1st to 3rd May in the neighbourhood of Santa Cruz, where sweet-smelling crosses made of flowers line the streets of this Alicante quarter, a place where dances and children's games as well as the finest win awards are on stage.
Virgen del Carmen (The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt Carmel)
The festivity of "Virgen del Carmen" is held on 16th July, when fishermen embellish their boats worshipping the Virgin. An example of this adoration is the celebration held on Tabarca island, where there is a religious parade with fishermen bearing an image of "Virgen del Carmen".
Virgen del Remedio (Our Lady of Remedy)
This festivity is held on 5th August, when there is a parade in commemoration of the "Virgen del Remedio", the matron saint of Alicante.
There is a celebration, the "Alborada", featuring an old choral concert, which is held two days earlier, on the 3rd August.Meanwhile, the Port Summer Festival also happens honouring the "Virgen del Remedio".
Virgen del Socorro (Our Lady of Succour)
The festivities of the "Virgen del Socorro" are held between 5th and 8th of September. They include dances, a religious parade, cooking contests and games.
This celebration is located in the Raval neighbourhood overlooking "Playa del Postiguet".