Seville is a lively place to be with festivals and celebrations’ coming in each season and spring is no exception. Before the dust settles soon after Semana Santa, the city is already filled with anticipation for yet another of Spain’s most emblematic festivals.
About two weeks after the holy week processions, Seville people work day and night in preparation for Feria de Abril.
What is Feria de Seville?
Feria de Abril also known as Feria de Seville initially started as cattle fair on the grounds of the Prado de Sebastian in 1847 but over time, the atmosphere surrounding the event took a more festive turn and today, it stands as a permanent fixture in the social calendar of Seville drawing thousands of both locals and internationals each year to dance, drink and be merry.
The start of Feria de Seville is characterized by crowds that flock to the ceremonial switching on of the lights-El Alumbrado (which beautifully illuminate the Portada, the gateway to the fairground) which signal the beginning of the festivals. That Monday is referred in Spanish as La Noche del Pescaito which literally translates to “Fish Night”- a night where fish is taken for dinner.
When and where
The Feria starts on the first Monday of the 2nd week after Semana Santa. As the interest in the fair grew the locals had to adopt a new ground and in 1973 they changed the old venue to the neighbourhood of Los Remedios close to River Guadalquivir to accommodate more stalls and larger crowds, where the event has been held ever since.
The fairground is like an entire village/town consisting of over 1000 marquees referred to as casetas (curtained tents where people dance, eat, drink and socialize) adorned by thousands of paper lanterns.
Most of these casetas are exclusive and private, it’s usually a great honour and privilege to get invited to one but if you don’t get an invitation, do not despair you’ll still have a fantastic time at bigger community casetas which boast a livelier atmosphere.
The casetas are the highlight of the fair together with daily parades of thousands of flower-decked horse-drawn carriages but by no means are they the only attractions.
There is a lot that goes on and enough to satisfy any thrill-seeker with bull-fighting shows and locals parading the streets on horsebacks, plus dozens of events that go on throughout the day.
Most youngsters, for instance, are more interested in Calle Del Infierno which offers everything from stomach-churning rides to a selection of kids merry-go-rounds and anything in between.
And of course, the celebrations of this festival would not be complete without dancing some Sevillanas- a local dance style with its own distinct movements and rules.
The clothes also make the Feria where women are usually beautifully dressed in traditional flamenco clothes and men in tight suits and hats. Most of the kids wear the miniature of their parent’s outfits.
If not for anything else, Feria de Seville is a unique and special event worth visiting. The Spanish love to party and this Feria is one of the best in Southern Spain.
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