Lucia Serrano and Vanessa Garrido will be carrying the banners of the crescent and the cross in 2024.

The Moors and Christians Xàbia has revealed its main representatives for 2024, the two standard bearers for each side, who will be metaphorically carrying the banners of the crescent and the cross not only during July’s spectacular fiesta but also as representatives of the town at other fiestas in the region.

Lucía Serrano Osca and Vanessa Garrido Astorgano have been selected for the prestigious positions for 2024, Lúcia (Filà Baharis) representing the Moors whilst Vanessa (Filà Faciners) will be representing the Christians. Both have had this fiesta in their blood since they were born.

Their formal proclamation and the beginning of their responsibility as the main representatives of the Moros i Cristians Xàbia will take place this Saturday 17th February during the traditional Mig Any celebrations which mark the formal start of the preparations for this summer’s festivities which will end with the colourful gala parades.

Lucía Serrano is 19 years old and wants to train as a nursing assistant. She has the blood of the fiesta flowing through her veins. Her grandparents were founders of the Filà Baharis in 1986 and her parents are actively involved in it today. Since she was born, Lucía has been part of the Moorish sailors every year, except 2023. She recognizes that she has wanted to a standard bearer (known as an abanderada) since she was little and it was obvious that at some point the characteristic green sash would rest of her shoulder, that moment coming in a very special year when the Filà Baharis will have the honour of holding the 2024 Captaincy.

Vanessa Garrido is 29 years old and works in the real estate sector. She has been part of the fiesta since the age of six when she was part of the Moorish side, parading with Filà Schaitans until 2014 alongside her father, a renowned participants to this day. In 2015, she didn’t participate, a decision that she promised “would never happen again”. Thus, in 2016, following the first Captaincy held by Filà Faciners, she returned to the fiesta, this time of the side of the Christians. Since then she has been part of this young filà which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Now, after years of being part of the fiesta, she has been given the position of standard bearer and has accepted the responsibility “with great enthusiasm and desire”.

Both young women acknowledge that it is an honour to be able to represent the Moors and Christians fiesta in such a way. The fiesta is part of them and they have been part of the celebrations since they were very little. They know it in detail, understanding the effort and sacrifice that it demands from every participants to be able to stage the event for the public to enjoy.

“Being a Standard Bearer is a huge responsibility after so many years of enjoying it as a participants. It is different and a privilege because, whilst becoming the representative of each side as well as the fiesta as a whole, you hope to reciprocate that will all the good it brings you and live up to that”. They admit to being nervous but they know that they have the support of the big family of the Moors and Christians which wants to see them shine.

Both know that the role of Standard Bearer will require them to separate themselves from their filà during the main acts. However, for Lucía and Vanessa, it is an opportunity to discover the celebrations from another perspective and to share it, in the first person, with the Captains and the Fiesta Board. Many acts will change for both of them, since they will occupy a leading place in them and they have already make it clear which ones they want to enjoy the most as standard bearers: the invasion and the reconquest, recreations of an important part of Spanish history during which their representation will take special prominence, leading their respective sides to victory. They are also aware that they will have to live each act, no matter how small, as if it were the last “because once it happens it will not be repeated”.

Both Lucía and Vanessa are proud to be able to champion the Moors and Christians of Xàbia at a time when it has enjoyed a special impact in recent years as a result of the effort and work of its Fiesta Board and its ranks. “Now all that remains is for this brotherhood that exists between the troops to be transferred to all the residents. The fiesta is open to everyone, our djellaba is our blouse and in the kabilas and barracks we all have a friend and we know that there is always a place at the table at lunch or dinner time.”