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Luna Mora festival lights the way to Guaro's past

A couple pose next to candles arranged to spell out the festival's name, Luna Mora.
A couple pose next to candles arranged to spell out the festival's name, Luna Mora. / FERNANDO TORRES
  • The 23rd year of the Luna Mora festival marked the end of this year's summer festivities in Guaro

Guaro was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1485, yet the legacy of Al-Andalus still defines the town today. For the last 23 years, the Luna Mora festival has seen Guaro plunged into darkness and lit only by candles, symbolising an epic return to the past.

Locals toiled for days ahead of last weekend's festival, arranging candles into hearts, musical notes and messages. While half of the town occupied itself with the preparation of gastronomic delights, others were responsible for the artisan stands, which lined the narrow streets all the way to the Auditorio de la Luna Mora. Visitors were charmed by soaps, handmade jewellery, scarves and the medieval aesthetic of each stall.

Concerts, parades and other activities were enjoyed from Friday to Saturday by the tens of thousands of visitors to Guaro. Figures in the past have reached 50,000, significantly boosting the local tourist economy of the town. The tourists come as a double-edged sword, however, and the crowds that flock to Guaro's streets pose serious logistic problems for the town council. From 9.30pm this year, finding something to eat without a queue time of 20 minutes proved near impossible, and the car park, eight kilometres from the centre of town, was chock-a-block by 9pm.