As the ice-cream makers are unable to take part in the patrons’ festivals during the summer months, they have celebrated their own Moors and Christians’ festival since 1978. Out of all the events the one which truly stands out it the Offering of Flowers to Our Lady of the Assumption in which all the women take part clad in the traditional dress of the town or village where their business is located.
Each year the ice-cream makers of Jijona return to their native town to celebrate with a grand festival, their own version of the August Moors and Christians’ which keeps them in touch with their roots.
During their Moors and Christians’ festival the ice-cream makers carry out the most important acts of the August festival. Nevertheless there are certain features which distinguish this festival from the one in the summer, for example, the Ice-cream makers’ entrance and the ice-cream makers’ offering. Not all the principle events from the August festival are included (such as the Smugglers’ Embassy, The Marine Embassy and the Trial of the traitor Moor). However the structure of the ice-cream makers´ festival follows that of the festivals for the town´s patrons in August with the well-known three-day format.
The festival is a representation in three acts of the ancient conflict between the Moors and the Christians in which the participants are divided in two factions and each of these is further divided into groups.
Ice cream tradition in Jijona
The town of Jijona is known throughout the world for its delicious turrón (a type of nougat). Local industry is based on the production and distribution of turrón. However, the seasonal nature of this product with the production concentrated into the months coming up to Christmas, meant that many Jijonencos decided to emigrate during the summer months to make their living producing ice cream and thereby providing themselves with the means to live year round.
History explains that during the 70s, at a time of rapid expansion of the ice cream sector, many producers were unable to take part in the town’s summer festival due to their work and so put in motion the creation of a winter festival of Moors and Christians’ which became known as the Ice-cream makers’ festival.
Jijona is the only town in the Valencian community which can boast of two editions of Moors and Christians’ celebrations.