April festivals (part 4)
Today we’ll be ending our quick look at the various April festivals that one can visit during this month, and keep in mind these are in no way absolutely all of them, just a few of the more important ones.
Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos – Alcoy, Spain
This is a celebration of the Reconquista – meaning the region’s liberation from Muslim rule in the 13th century – and over eighty towns and villages to the south of Valencia hold this Fiesta.
Quite possibly the biggest and best known location for festivities during this fiesta is Alcoy, where hundreds of local dress up in rather well-made and elaborate traditional costumes which represent the different factions of Muslims and Christian soldiers, slaves, guild groups, town criers, heralds, it’s a huge event. All of these people then march through the streets of Alcoy and stage rather massive and spectacular mock battles.
There are 28 ‘armies’ that prepare for an entire year to wage a three-day mock war between the 22nd and 24th of April.
The parades conclude in a cloud of gunpowder smoke , but there’s a pause in between all the ‘fighting’ for the feast day of St. George – on the 23rd of April.
Even if this sounds like a massive costume party, it’s actually quite an exhilarating spectacle and a lot of fun to boot.
Kumbh Mela – Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain or Nasik, India
This is quite possibly the largest religious gathering on the face of the planet, and it happens four times every twelve years, with the date varying wildly because it takes place when Jupiter enters Aquarius and the sun enters Aries, however the event compensates for this by lasting more than a month.
Kumbh Mela is a celebration of a victory of good against evil in a mythical fight between demi-gods and demons. Nowadays the major purpose of the celebration is for millions of Hindus from all around the globe to bathe in the rivers on the days that are deemed auspicious, and everyone is welcomed to join in, but keep in mind that the rivers are notoriously polluted nowadays. Bathing in the waters is meant to cleanse the sins of one’s lifetime as well as those dating back 88 generations.
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