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San Jorge in Caceres

Springtime in Extremadura and the festival season is in full swing. Right on the heels of Semana Santa celebrations and the parading of the local virgin comes the celebration of the city's patron saint, San Jorge, better known to English speakers as Saint George. A curious mix of fire, tradition and what some might call out and out political incorrectness.

The festival celebrates the Christian's 2nd taking of the city from the Moors led by Alfonso IX on April 23rd, 1229. Legend has it that the Moorish king's daughter was in love with one of the Christian Soldiers and showed him a secret tunnel under the massive walls which led to the fall of the city.

On the eve of the holiday Moors and Christians parade through the streets ending up in a mock battle in the Main Square whose climax is the burning of the thinly disguised symbol of a dragon, thus vanquishing the 'evil' Muslims.

If the imagery doesn't bother you, get to the Plaza early or the only thing you will see of the dragon are the blue lights of the mobile phones and digital cameras being held overhead of the throngs in front of you.


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