Take a break to celebrate the good weather in the most traditionally Spanish way possible. Nothing calls out Spain like the Feria de Abril in Seville. The Andalusian capital, Seville, generally hosts the biggest Feria in Andalusia two weeks after the Semana Santa, the Easter holy week.
photo by peribanyez
The history of the Seville Fair dates back to 1846, but the oldest one was held in Valladolid in 1152. The Fairs were established as pure celebrations of buen tiempo, the good weather brought by the spring, and as a way for merchants to exhibit and sell their cattle near the Camino de Santiago. All fairs were situated in different towns following the pilgrims around the Camino, moving towards the interior, then to the south, and finally ending back near the Camino de Santiago in September. Almost like a way of letting go of the religious formalities between Easter and the Pilgrimage.
During the whole Fair, the banks of the Guadalquivir River are completely covered by rows of over 1000 casetas (colorfully decorated marquee tents). Most casetas have ongoing flamenco performances, music, a bar and food being served.
The fair is characterized by the vivid colours that embody Spanish warmth and passion. Everybody at the fair is dressed in traditional flamenco style dresses, trajes de flamenca, for the women, and the trajes cortos (short jackets, tight trousers and boots) and cordobes (tradional hats) for the men. Every day at noon there is a horse parade, el Paseo de Caballos, where local men and women ride around in splendid horses and are pulled through the city in beautiful carriages. In the evening, the year’s most impressive bullfights take place in the Plaza de Toros de Maestranza.
Gastronomy, of course, is one of the fair’s most prominent aspects. There is no end to the delights being served. The Fair officially opens on Monday evening, which is called alumbrao, and the members of casetas get together to have a fried fish for dinner. Throughout the week each caseta makes stews such as chickpeas with spinach, or meat in tomato sauce; and there is of course Spanish cured ham and sausages always around. Litres of Sherry and Menzanilla wines are merrily consumed, as well as the popular rebujito.
If this has not made your blood pulsate with excitement, then I don’t know what will. For those who are somewhat discouraged by the abuse of animal rights in the bullfights, think of the Fair’s aim to celebrate new life among the livestock and that the pastures of southern Spain make for a perfect environment to produce healthy free range meat from happy cattle.
For more information about Feria de Abril, about Seville and what to visit around the area please visit the Spanish tourist website and find useful links at the bottom of the page.
Hotels in Seville
Domo Center Bormujos – Apartments
Average Price: €35
Average Rating: 8.6
Hotel Las Casas de la Judería
Average Price: €148
Average Rating: 8.4
Hotel Sevilla Palmera
Average Price: €57
Average Rating: 8