La Feria de Abril de Sevilla
La Feria de Abril de Sevilla, (The April Fair/The Fair of Seville), takes place this year the 20th of April until the following Sunday, the 26th of April. If you are studying abroad in Spain this is an experience you cannot miss.
The first day of the Feria de Abril consists of a traditional dish of pescaíto (fish) and the lighting of the main entrance (la Portada), as well as the illuminated decorations throughout the grounds.
The following days are packed with dancing Sevillianas, having rebujitos, and trying to survive the intense heat that the Feria always brings with it! The last day of the Feria is spent by the river enjoying the ending firework festivities.
The origins of the Fair of Seville date back to 1847. Seville had experienced rough economic times and was coping with the effects of a strong, destructive hurricane. Therefore, in order to lift the spirits of the sevillanos and sevillanas, a motion was passed by the local government to establish a fair that would take place of the 19th,20th, and 21st of April. The first Fair of Seville housed 19 casetas (temporary, yet luxurious tents that are set up for each Feria, they usually hold bars, mini-restaurants, and bands). Each year the fair has grown and now 1,048 casetas compose the famed Fair of Seville.
Today, the Fair of Seville retains many of the traditions of the first fairs. The women dress in flamenco dresses and the men wear suits and ties. Although not compulsory to enter the public casetas of Seville, if you wish to enter the private casetas of colleagues you may know, you best wear your best flamenco dress or suit!
Additionally, due to the heat compounded with heavy flamenco dresses and dark suits, the party-goers cool down by drinking rebujitos. The first Ferias were celebrated by drinking prized manzanilla (a type of wine crafted only in Cadiz); however, now manzanilla is combined with 7-UP to provide a refreshing effect. Be careful: All sevillianos say rebujito is smooth and goes straight to your head, and they are right! Finally, everyone dances Sevillanas. Sevillianas is a dance that has four distinct and separate phases. Only a true Sevilliano/a can tell when to change from one phase to another!
La Feria de Sevilla is the largest fair in all of Spain and those of us lucky enough to study abroad in Seville will most certainly take part in all it has to offer!