MOJACAR, fiestas and the INDALO SOUVENIR

Travel to Mojacar: 3 feverish days of fiesta to experience southern Spain at its best, and witness the lucky Indalo souvenir

Mojácar’s Festival of Moors and Christians is one of the year’s most anticipated parties in the province of Almería, southeast Spain. People in the surrounding area (and from miles around too) live all year round in expectation of this spectacular event. It’s not that there aren’t other “fiestas de Moros y Cristianos” in the region (for example down the coast at Carboneras – or across the “border” into Murcia, at the famous town of Caravaca de la Cruz. It’s just that the Mojácar fiesta is – well, special.

Moors of Almeria
Courtesy: Adolfo Galache

The people of the town live all year round in anticipation of the event, with much planning, making of costumes, and organisation of the groups and associations called kábilas and barracks. And the many foreigners of the area join in with gusto. But . .

Where is Mojacar? What is the the point of the Fiesta of Moors and Christians? Which part of Spain is Mojacar?

Mojácar is a small town on the coast of Almería in the south east corner of Spain. It is called a “hilltop” town because the large old quarter that sits atop a hill. But nowadays there is a substantial beachside area too with many bars and restaurants, and discos – as well a shops selling souvenirs, jewellery, and ceramics of Andalucía . . as can be seen also in our online Good Luck Gift Shop store .

What part of Spain is Mojacar hilltop village

Mojacar festival

By day, Mojacár is a quiet Andalusian village on the Mediterranean coast, with narrow cobbled streets, and the beach-side resort that stretches for some 7 miles with beautiful sand and warm waters. But at night in the late spring and summer . . the town comes alive with fun and frivolity . . and no more so than during the Fiesta de los Moros y Cristianos in June. People dress up (and the Spanish love “las disfraces” – costumes), either as Arab/Moors or as “Christians”. The reason is that, for around 600 years, Spain was more or less under Muslim control as the Moors moved north through the country. But they never quite succeeded in a complete takeover, being finally thwarted in the north, with areas of Galicia, Asturias and Navarra holding on with their Christian beliefs, and the The Catholic Monarchs (Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon) finally beginning the re-establishment of Christian influence that the great El Cid (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar) had begun 400 years earlier. By then, the country was a melting pot of races and religions (including a large population of Jews) and many lived in complete harmony. But there were endless scirmishes between Moors and Christians as the Moors were pushed back south – and many ‘border’ towns’ like Caravaca and Mojácar had constant battles.

Mojacar fiesta of Moors and Christians

So, the fiesta of Moors and Christians re-enacts these battles with half the people dressing up as Moors – and the other half as Christians – in a delightful display of colour. All is friendly: But it wasn’t always so: And many residents still see themselves as “Moors” despite the country having been “re-united” a long time ago (from the 15th Century under Los Reyes Catolicos) and some still feel very strongly about their history:“I am as Spanish as you”, says one dressed-up ‘Moor’, “but my race has been living in Spain for more than 600 years. I have never raised arms against the Christians. I therefore believe it is fair that you treat me like a brother, not like an enemy, and that you allow us to continue to work our land.” He added: “Before handing myself over like a coward, I will die like a Spaniard” (a reference perhaps to the final exit of the Moors from Spain, after defeat outside Granada, when Boabdil (Abu `Abdallah Muhammad XII (1460 – 1533), the last Nasrid ruler of the Emirate of Granada in Iberia) looked back at the great walled city with its Alhambra . . as he left for the last time – with the words of his mother Aisha ringing in his ears: “‘Weep like a woman for what you could not defend like a man.” This re-capture by the Spanish of the Granada Emirate in 1492 resulted in the final expulsion of “Los Moriscos” from España. It was over . . but not forgotten.

Abandoned Moorish costume

Each year, on the first day (Friday) of La Fiesta de Los Moros y Cristianos there is a gathering of “trabuqueros” outside Mojácar’s Town Hall, followed by an assembly of ‘troops’ at La Fuente (the town water fountain), and subsequent delivery of the keys to the ‘city’ by the “King” of the Moors, to the Christian King.

As this is Spain, where any excuse for a party is heeded, the whole process is re-enacted in the evening, and several times – often late into the night, over the next couple of days (and nights). The participants (and attendant crowd) climb to the top of the town and announce the presence of hostile troops in the vicinity of the city, accompanied by bands of music, fireworks and rifle salvoes. The troops then enter the town and attend a bonfire, with the inevitable party until dawn.

Moors and Christians Mojacar
Courtesia del Ayuntamiento de Mojaacar

On Saturday – everyone heads to the beach – why not?! for a repeat performance and mock battles (with lots of alcohol consumed – as the night before) Why? Because Moorish reinforcements have arrived of course! So they march to the Chiringuitos on the beach, dance and there is another battle and show of fireworks before they return to the hilltop village for more partying “hasta que salga el sol” (until sunrise).

On Sunday (hangover or not) it all starts again – with more riflemen with blunderbusses on the beach and finally an impressive evening parade of Moors and Christians, in full regalia and with weapons drawn, accompanied by numerous bands and fanfares.

Mojacar nightlife

There are no victors nor losers, and the essence of these Muslim, Christian and Jewish believers is one of mutual respect, and to live in peace together for another year in Mojácar.

Mojacar souvenirs, and what is the Indalo man of Mojacar?

In our  SHOP  , we have a range of souvenirs from Mojácar – in particular featuring the local symbol:  Indalo Man , which is said to offer protection and good luck, and be a great gift from Spain. This Mojacar souvenir features on jewellery, ceramics and other giftware.

You can see  Indalo gifts  and souvenirs from Mojácar in our central store.

Some of the   Indalo jewellery   pendants and necklaces in our shop were developed as a souvenir of a great time enjoyed in the clubs of Mojácar. But because Mojacar is a bit of a party town (although by day, a quiet Andalusian village on the Mediterranean coast in the south east corner of Spain), these Indalo gifts can also act as a souvenir of a great time partying . . anywhere! And, because this little lucky charm – the Indalo, can be gifted as a good luck present . . a charm necklace to bring your friend good luck, it is now recognised in many parts of the world for this reason.

For centuries, the so-called “muñeco mojaquero” or Mojácar doll symbol (which later was to be called Indalo Man) was daubed in red clay paint on dwellings in the area as an act of faith to help protect houses from misfortune. The origin of this symbol has been linked to the Neolithic period in the province (and the local cave paintings in Vélez Blanco), although the eventual name “Indalo” comes from Almería’s cultural movement during the 1950s. It was at this time that a local archaeologist and painter Juan Cuadrado, (colleague of another artist, and the group leader, Perceval) learnt of the 5,000 year-old paintings in the cave of Los Letreros in nearby Vélez Blanco. Cuadrado offered his artistic representation of one of the paintings in the cave (Indalo-shaped) to Perceval, to be the logo of the artistic group to which they belonged. The name Indalo too was the inspiration of Cuadrado (since Indalecio was a common local name – after the patron Saint of the area, San Indalecio, a 1st Century missionary and Apostle). Cuadrado then suggested that their group of artists be named ‘Los Indalianos’.

What is the Indalo man
Large Indalo Man symbol see at Cuevas del Almanzora

So the Indalo Man symbol itself is pre-historic in origin but in its modern form (and there are various designs) it is now recognised as a lucky symbol of the whole region of Almería in Andalucía – and it is said to offer protection from misfortune. But its adopted home is really Mojácar and you see the symbol everywhere. Over many years, it has offered its residents the prospect of good luck and even today, it is strongly believed that a lucky Indalo will bring good fortune to the owner. To anyone who visits Mojácar, it is the only souvenir to have – or to send to a friend as good luck gift.

Many of our   Indalo necklaces, pendants and bracelets   have been fashioned and hand-crafted in Andalucía. The Indalo makes a great little gift – both as a celebration of nightlife, like that of Mojacar (and the surrounding areas of Vera Playa and Garrucha), and as a souvenir or memoir of Almería and other such places along this coast.

Mojacar women dress up too
Women dress up too for fiesta

If you can remember that special party or fiesta – especially if you enjoyed it on the warm beaches of the Mediterranean sea – partying until the early hours, and would like a more permanent reminder of the fun time, you could order one of our little Indalo charms. It could be a souvenir of a great time had by all.

You can see some   Indalo lucky charm souvenirs of Mojácar and Almería   in our central shop – as well lovely   inspirational jewellery  from other parts of Spain like the Caravaca Cross  of Murcia, and Camino de Santiago jewellery .

Travel to Mojácar in Spain to see La Fiesta de los Moros y Cristianos and get a lucky Indalo Man souvenir

 

What’s the best way to say HAVE A GOOD TRIP

Want to wish someone a good trip? But what does: Have a Great Trip mean? What does Have a Good Flight mean? And what about: Safe Travels? The Good Luck Gift Shop has gifts to say this.

Have you ever tried travelling on your own? If so, you’ll know that it can be difficult because you have nobody to support you, to help you when things go wrong. So what can you do? Find a mate, a travelling companion. But this is not always possible. Especially if we recall the advice of that great literary iconoclast, Jack Kerouac: “In the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain!” …. You have to go!

But . . . why not take a little lucky charm to possibly help you along the way? We have a lot in our online  shop

Many people have found problems travelling alone. But very few regret that they did it . . they tried. However, there are perhaps a few things that you should know before you buy your travel ticket and set forth on the “journey of a lifetime” in order to ensure the best (and most enjoyable) result: But this post won’t tell you what you need to do to make sure everything goes well, NOR will it let you succesfully plan the best trip . . EVER!

But, perhaps it can allow you to help a friend / loved-one? . . to wish them well on their OWN journey, by pointing you in the direction of some little gift that you can send them to say: “Have a good trip”, “Safe travels”, “Happy holidays”, “Have a wonderful time”

We sell lots of travels gifts for luck on a trip / travelling in our online shop , to enable you to find that “little something” for a friend to take with them as a REMINDER of their aims, goals and desires…. a little travel gift to wish good luck.

If you ARE looking for that little travel gift for a friend or loved-one travelling, the best place to go to ensure that you end up with something that lets your friend or loved-one know that you really care and that you are thinking about them, is our online shop (especially jewellery):

Jewellery to wish luck and safety on a trip

This is the best way to say “Have a good trip”

At Good Luck Gifts, we know a thing or two about good luck travel gifts – especially ones intended to pass on your wishes of safekeeping. We have been involved for over 10 years. Many of them are related to one of the greatest journeys of the world – el Camino de Santiago in Spain (our home), and many have Christian subtleties which might be pertinent to a friend or loved-one’s journey. So, ensure that your gift is symbolic and meaningful so that you can pass on your very best wishes.

Any good gift with meaning should let someone know that you really DO care about them. This is important because meaningless gifts are just that .. meaningless!!

¿Is Spring the time of year for people to go on their holidays? In the northern hemisphere, no, it’s more business trips perhaps, (at least until Easter) rather than the happy holidays of summer and families. In the southern hemisphere, as autumn approaches, the holidays draw to an end. So, if a friend or loved-one is going travelling, it is more likely to be a business trip: But this doesn’t stop you from wanting to say : “Buen viaje!” Have a great trip: Have a successful trip: Have a wonderful time! Wishes for a good trip or for a safe journey are timeless, season-less and international.

French novelist, Gustav Flaubert said that travel makes one modest: “You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” And celebrity chef, Michael Bourdain said: “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind” . . even if that is only footprints.

It is said that to travel is to live, and now that you know that not all travel gifts are equal … you’re no doubt ready to get that single, special gift that has REAL meaning for the friend or loved-one who is embarking on their journey of a lifetime, without worrying that it will be “suitable”.  Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

The greeting amongst pilgrims on Spain’s El Camino used to be: “Ultreia, suseia, Santiago” (Go ahead, beyond Santiago). When one pilgrim greeted another by saying “Ultreia” (“keep going”) the other responded with “Et suseia!” (“and beyond!”). Nowadays, the more common greeting is “¡Buen Camino!” (Good journey).

 

Stone for love – Valentines Day and Garnet

Which stone means love? What is the best stone to attract love and a soulmate? Does Rose Quartz attract love at Valentines, or Garnet? So what is the gemstone for love?

Birthstones and Gemstone jewellery for luck in love:

Search for  Valentine gifts in our Good Luck Gift Shop  store

Search for  Rose Quartz jewellery in our store – the pink stone for love

Wow! Did you know that if you search on Google for Stones For Love – you get over 2 billion results! (Valentines only returns a mere x1 billion). So “stone for love” is a popular search indeed and it indicates that a lot of people are looking for love – and hoping perhaps to get some sort of “other-worldly” or celestial help to achieve it 😉 Here are some other common searches:

Stone for love and happiness: Stone for love marriage: Crystals for love and romance: Pink stone for love: Gemstone to attract soulmate: Crystals for love spells: Gemstone for love success: What stone for love and marriage?

OK you get the picture!! and the most commonly-used stones to attract love appear to be: Garnet, Rose Quartz and Jade. Moonstone also features as a gemstone for affection (although it also has an element of protection). Place Moonstone under your pillow at night and dream of your loved-one – so the saying goes.

Find some  Moonstone jewellery  in our shop

Search for  Jade jewellery  in our shop

For years, people have thought that certain gemstones have magical powers. For example, Jade is supposed to promote longevity, but some say Jade also attracts love: In ancient Egypt, Jade was admired as the stone of love, especially when fashioned in the shape of a heart. And of course, Rose Quartz and Garnet are supposed to bring love.

But wait! Isn’t Garnet the modern birthstone for January and Aquarius: January 21-February 19th? What better time then to get your loved-one something for Valentines featuring the magic gemstone Garnet. Yes, the Garnet gemstone is often gifted to loved-ones as a stone for love and happiness.

Garnet stone for love
Garnet: One of the stones for love

Garnet and its deep rich red is thought of as the stone of romantic love and passion, enhancing sensuality and intimacy. Although said to be more of a feminine life force and for women’s needs, Garnet is also said to encourage a quick return of a separated love. Garnets are often gifted to women when they fall in love, and so as Engagement presents too. The myth is that the Garnet, as a symbol of truth and purity, will secure someone’s love forever!

So, are you looking for marriage or love? What are you waiting for!

Search for Garnet jewellery in our Good Luck Gift Shop store

Going back in history to Cleopatra and beyond, gemstones have been worn for their supposed magical powers . . to help protect people, bring them prosperity and good luck, as well as good health, longevity . . and love. Nowadays, it has been scientifically proved that it is the faith or belief in a positive outcome of events that brings people better fortune in their lives . . and so we imagine, luck in love.

NOTE:
Although a Garnet gem stone is often gifted to a loved-one as the stone of romantic love and passion, it is said that Noah hung a huge Garnet on the Ark to illuminate the dark and help him steer to safety: So travellers in the Middle Ages started carrying Garnet to supposedly light up their journey and to give them protection from misfortune. So, if your Valentine is going travelling sometime soon – great, what a combination is the purported qualities of Garnet, to achieve the perfect Valentine gift! Garnet is especially valued as a present to a lover or partner who is going to be away for a while on a trip.

St Valentine is celebrated on February 14th in many (not all) countries of the world – the day of Romance. On this day, gifts of love are exchanged – many unsigned, so the recipient if left wondering: “Who loves me enough to send me this card or this beautiful piece of gemstone jewellery?” In Dublin, Ireland . . in the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street, you will find the resting place of St Valentine, the patron Saint of love, and the so-called inspiration behind all things to do with romance.

Jade love bracelet
Jade love bracelet

So, Valentine’s gifts can be varied and diverse – but will they help you find the one you want? The best we can do is to make someone feel extra special, and more loved and appreciated this Valentines Day, with a small and meaningful gift of love and inspiration from our shop:

But remember: Garnet is the gemstone for the month and can also be associated with the zodiac sign Aquarius.

Take a look in our Good Luck Gift Shop store for a gift to get luck in love!

For years, people have thought that certain gemstones have magical powers. e.g. Moonstone is supposed to offer calm and protection; Rose Quartz and Garnet are supposed to bring love!

 

The CAMINO PILGRIM Family

What is it about the Camino de Santiago that brings people together? What is it that inspires writers and artists? We are grateful to Camino Artist, Kate . .

. . for describing some of her experience as a ‘Camino pilgrim’ that drove her to change her life priorities and concentrate on her art, and who is now producing wonderful Camino art / paintings. These are her words:

” Life is full of many ups and downs, some controllable and others not. We have no choice but to accept the good with the bad. After all, does one without the other even mean anything?

A few years ago, I went on a journey, a solo adventure, time just for me. (Selfish?)

Unbeknownst to me then it was an opportunity to really look at what is good and bad in life, to really put perspective on those things. Initially I decided to walk the Camino to ‘just see if I could do it’… and well, I could! Aha! I just didn’t expect the rest that came with it.

Camino de Santiago
Camino de Santiago – painting in alcohol inks

The Camino takes you through mountains, flat lands and forests and each is as beautiful as the last. Make sure you have plenty of room on your phones as you’ll be taking lots of pictures!

The Camino is more than the beauty of your surroundings though, it has an energy that’s unlike anywhere else. I think part of this comes from the sense of community on the Camino, which is amazing, and I love being a part of the pilgrim family; this is true even after the Camino as there are pilgrim family members all around the world that love to connect after walking it! More importantly it seems no matter our differences and backgrounds pilgrims come together and want to learn and help one another more than I’ve ever felt before. (Well, most pilgrims!)

There is also respect for those that want to walk a quiet day without chat and interruption, to be with your own thoughts but with the knowledge of knowing any one you meet would offer a helping hand if you were in need. I feel the Camino gives us permission to be who we are, to be true to ourselves, and to truly be in the moment. Life gets so chaotic sometimes and we don’t often get the time to truly think and be.

Meseta on the Camino de Santiago
Meseta on the Camino, painting by Kate

Don’t get me wrong, the Camino is full of challenges and frustrations, from blisters to achy muscles, or cold showers and snorers in the albergues, but all these things are what ‘make’ the Camino what it is. It’s amazing to challenge yourself to walk 800km! I know my friends thought I was crazy when I went the first time but like in life you just take one day at a time, and if you want it badly enough and you push through the difficult days, you’ll get there. That sense of achievement when you realise what you’ve done outweighs all the days you’ve struggled and had to push through the aches and pains.

Before the Camino I was a hairdresser and artist. After the Camino I was an artist first then hairdresser. I transitioned and changed my life to focus it around what I love; painting…and the Camino. Now I’m no longer a hairdresser and just an artist that paints the Camino. It really has changed my life and has made me realise I need to follow my dreams. My dreams may not happen overnight, but if I want it badly enough and push each day towards achieving my goal, I will get there. Another dream is to walk and paint the Camino as I go, to capture each painting in real time. But! Until I’m able to return, for now I’ll be happy painting my photos and memories and to have fellow pilgrims connect and commission me to paint theirs. What else makes such a unique experience even more special but an original and unique piece of art?

Paths of the Camino de Santiago
Kate takes commissions from fellow pilgrims

”  It’s been difficult to sum up the Camino in a relatively small amount of words as there are so many things to talk about! So, I guess the only real way you can know what it is truly like, is to walk yourself. Go on, I give you permission, now give yourself the permission 😊 ”

www.spencermillanart.com
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www.instagram.com/spencermillanart/
Also see jewellery celebrating Camino de Santiago in this shop

If you’re interested in buying Camino paintings or commissioning Kate, or simply just want to see her version of the Camino in paint, please check out her work on her website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook. All her links are shown above:

SAFE TRAVELS bracelet

Safe trip: “Have a safe journey and travel safe”. How often do we hear wishes like that, or want to give a gift to wish safe travels to someone we know?

At Christmas time many people are looking for that ideal and meaningful Christmas present. Folks are also planning their next year’s vacation or holidays: So it could be a good time to combine a gift for travellers with a simple present at Christmas . . wishing friends or loved-ones be holiday safety, and have a safe journey. (See our Good Luck Gift Shop store.)

Travel safe
Travel safe: Bracelet gifts

The most common gift to wish safe travels, is some sort of protection bracelet or safe travels bracelet: It is simple, easy to carry when travelling (on holiday for example), usually low cost (so not a huge disaster if lost) and meaningful. As gifts for travellers go, a safe travel bracelet is it!

See some jewellery to wish luck / safety on a trip or journey in our store

Safe travels bracelet
Safe travels bracelet

But of what does this travel bracelet consist? A simple lucky talisman strung on a bracelet? Or perhaps it is something more meaningful: A piece of spiritual or religious jewellery perhaps?

In this respect, when it comes to travel, people tend to look for something that offers a form of “protection”. Yes, even in these modern times, many people (whatever their faith or religion) still believe in some sort of divine spirit or guardian angel watching over them, acting as a guide, a guardian or protector: It could be a God, a Saint, a Guardian Angel or a simple religious symbol of faith. In the Christian or Catholic world, the St Christopher talisman is a good example of this – and St Christopher bracelets, necklaces and other jewellery are common gifts indeed. But there are more examples of safe travel bracelets too, and the one above features the cross of St James (Saint James is the patron Saint of pilgrims, and travellers in general, whereas St Christopher is patron of all sorts of travelling (and especially long journeys)).

St Christopher symbol jewelry
St Christopher jewelry for safekeeping

It is said that good luck travelling and a safe return home is not a matter of fate, but of faith. And even for agnostics who maybe prefer some other form of lucky symbol to accompany them on their travels, a safe travels bracelet featuring a powerful symbol like a Saint, couldn’t do any harm!

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to gift something to a friend or loved-one travelling to wish safe travel and safekeeping that really worked! And in a way, you can: By giving a friend or loved-one a Safe Travels bracelet (for example), they will be REMINDED of your concerns while they are travelling and so, hopefully, take extra care. And this is the most important thing.

Tennessee Williams said that “Luck is believing you are lucky” and many people admit that there is a power in a thought made positive by a lucky charm symbol – being a constant reminder of purpose and desires. And so it is also with a lucky charm travel bracelet (or other piece of jewellery) to wish someone a safe journey: In addition to any value in the lucky charm symbol itself, or the religious faith that it might represent, a gift to wish safe travels can actually act as a REMINDER TO BE CAREFUL. And this can be very important and a powerful aid to staying safe whilst travelling away from home.

 

Anyway, at Christmas time, when the Christian faith is foremost, a safe travel bracelet (or other piece of religious jewellery perhaps, like a necklace or earrings) based on a Christian symbol can be very appropriate as a meaningful Christmas present.

So please go over to our online shop to see some safe travel bracelets ( as well as other travel  jewellery to wish luck and safety on a trip  )

Have a safe trip! May God guide you and protect you on your journey, and fulfil all your wishes. Have a wonderful time, enjoy your travels and keep safe ♥