Altea gets in the festival mood during September.
Locally this is a busy month with events like the brotherhood groups dinner, the invitation from the festival leaders and the Presentation are all essential warm ups as excitement builds for the big festivals and making these celebrations great entertainment in Spain.
The 20th to the 29th September 2013 sees Altea celebrate its most spectacular recreation of historical events as it holds the Moors and Christians festival in honour of Sant Blas, and then the annual festival of the "Santísimo Cristo del Sagrario" (the most holy Christ of the sanctuary).
Church bells peal and mortars explode to signal the start of the festival programme. Immediately afterwards, the town's festive events kick off with the "Entrà de la Murta", the parade of town bands, the ceremony of handing out the flags and the proclamation, which ends with the traditional cries of "Avant la festa!" (let the festival start!) and "Visca la festa!" (long live the festival!).
On Saturday, after the Moorish ambassador's visit, the "alardo" (a re-enactment of the battle between Moors and Christians) and the Christian surrender, followed by the spectacular Christian entrance parade.
On Sunday, the annual festival begins with a mass in honour of the "Santísimo Cristo de Sagrario" and a solemn procession involving festival leaders and groups.
On Monday, following the visit of the Moorish ambassador, the battle re-enactment and the Moorish surrender, there is the colourful entrance of the Moors. On Tuesday, the day starts with a lively morning street parade, one of the last big events on the festival programme.
From Wednesday, other kinds of events take over, starting with gastronomy, with "Ruta de la Tapa Festera", a festival tapas tour involving 22 of Altea's bars and restaurants; theatre, with performances of Viva mi padre by Lina Morgan, plus arts and crafts, with the newly refurbished Porrat de Sant Miquel market, otherwise known as "Porrataltea".