Spring has arrived!!! In the United States we know spring has come when it rains more often, the flowers bloom, and when the weather gets warmer, right?
Well, I bet you’re wondering how I knew spring arrived here in Sevilla. In Sevilla, spring comes along with its largest festival…
Feria de Abril.
What in the world is Feria de Abril?
Feria de Abril is Sevilla’s oldest, most traditional festival. The week-long event began in 1847 and always takes place during the month of April. Feria de Abril is the sign that spring has definitely come to Sevilla. It is a mix of old and new. The streets of Feria and the outfits of the Sevillanos made me feel like I went back in time, but on the other side of the fairgrounds were carnival rides and food booths.
In some ways Feria is similar to American carnivals. For example, there were tons of rides. Some of them I even recognized from home, like the Ferris Wheel. (I went on it!)
There were also many booths selling food and desserts like American fairs as well!
However, there are specifics characteristics that make Feria absolutely unique.
Las Casetas (The Tents)
During the week of Feria, the streets of the fairgrounds are lined with different sized tents. The tents are different variations of red, green, and white stripes. The casetas are usually owned by a group of friends and serve as the place to dance, eat, sing, and spend time with friends and family. Casetas are very expensive, so most of them are private. The owners invite friends and family! So people cannot enter into a private caseta without an invitation. However, there are also casetas open to the public where the people of Sevilla and visitors can dance, sing, eat, and drink!
I was lucky enough to go to the private caseta of one of my friends. I took a video inside the caseta while I was there. Take a look and see what a real caseta is like!
El traje de Flamenca y Traje de Corto (the typical outfit for Feria)
During Feria, everyone is very well dressed. The people of Sevilla wear traditional outfits. The women wear flamenco dresses. These dresses are tight-fitting with ruffles at the bottom. There are many different colors and prints, but the most traditional are polka dots. In addition to the dresses the women wear flowers in their hair, earrings, and shawls with fringes.
Even the young girls and older women wear dresses as well!
They all looked absolutely stunning during Feria! My host mom was nice enough to find a Flamenco dress for me to wear. I was extremely excited! I dressed up and looked just like a Sevillana.
The men dress up for Feria as well. The typical outfit for men who ride horses is “el traje de corto.” The outfit consists of high waist pants and hats with big brims.
Even the horses dress up at Feria!
Las Sevillanas (The typical dances of Feria)
A huge part of Feria is the singing and dancing!!! “Las Sevillanas” are the typical songs and dances of Feria. The “Sevillanas” are similar to Flamenco, however much easier. The dances are typically done in pairs, but more experienced dancers can do combinations of three or four. Every Sevillan person knows how to dance the Sevillianas; they learn when they are young.
My program had a class that taught us how to do the dances. During Feria, I danced the Sevillanas in my Flamenco dress with everyone! Here is a video of some of the little girls dancing the Sevillanas.
Comida y dulces
Feria wouldn’t be a proper fair without food!
The most important dinner of Feria is “El pescaito” because the main course is fried fish. This dinner takes place on the first night of Feria in the casetas. People eat tapas (little appetizers) throughout the day and for lunch. The most typical tapas are: shrimp, jamón Serrano (Spanish ham), cheese, different types of cold meat, fried fish, Spanish omelet, etc. In addition to the tapas, the casetas serve “el guiso del día,” a homemade stew. Each caseta chooses which one they want to make.
A meal is not complete without dessert, of course! Eating hot chocolate and churros on the way home is another tradition during Feria. There are many different stands that sell chocolate and churros all around the city.
Overall, Feria is an event full of tradition. It is a truly Spanish experience from the clothing to the food! I was mesmerized by the charming, lively Spanish spirit that overtook my city during Feria. The city became the Sevilla from 1847 and I truly experienced real Spanish culture.
Classmates Connecting Cultures