Luna Mora Festival in Guaro

Festival de la Luna Mora – the magic of the moon.

Like many of the white villages of Andalucía, Guaro dates back to the Arabic occupation of Spain. The small community of just over 2,500 people keeps its Moorish history very much alive with the annual ‘Festival de la Luna Mora’ (Festival of the Moorish Moon) which celebrates the three historic cultures of Spain…and particularly Andalucia… Moorish (Muslim), Christian, and Sephardic(Jewish). One of the aims of the event is to promote tolerance and understanding of different cultures and faiths.

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Held during the first weeks of each September, this arts, crafts and music festival has grown from a small local celebration into a significant event playing host to local, national and international talent.

Over the years, the event has become increasingly popular and attracts some big name artists from the fields of classical, popular and flamenco music and dance. Concerts are held in the village’s purpose built amphitheatre – a grand 1600 seat open air theatre that is the second largest in the province (after the 13,000-capacity arena at Malaga’s fairground).

Paco de Lucia

Paco de Lucia, for many Spain’s greatest ever flamenco guitarist, gave a memorable concert in 2010 to celebrate the opening of the amphitheatre…an unforgettable performance for those lucky enough to get tickets. Sadly Paco de Lucia died in 2014, but the festival continues to attract big names – such as Vicente Amigo, Antonio Orozco, and Diana Navarro – in the music industry.

During the festival Guaro comes to life with dancers, musicians and artists allowing visitor the privilege of experiencing true ‘Andalusi’ culture dating back almost 5 centuries. The streets turn into a large Moorish style souk, with stalls offering all kinds of North African foods, henna tattoos, belly dancing and much more.

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However the most magical moments of the Luna Mora come at dusk. All street lighting is turned off and the entire village is lit by candles. Over 25,000 of them, strategically located throughout the streets. It is a stunning spectacle which transforms the little village into a place of enchantment.

Next September make it a date..the Festival de la Luna Mora is well worth a visit…even if just to see those candles glowing in the dark.

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Post and images by photographer Derek Evans

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