TBT: Feria de abril

This week if I were in Sevilla, Spain I would be spending most of my time at la Feria. La Feria de abril is similar to a state fair that we have here in the States that is always at the end of April. It is a time when the city is on a permanent siesta, so if you are there at this time you need to make sure to take out money and go grocery shopping for the full week because nothing (no school, no jobs, no bank or stores) will be open.

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The fair grounds are located on the southwest corner in the city by Los Remedios. This is an area designate only for Feria. Entering the fairgrounds is free but you need to have a ticket to go into someone’s “caseta” or tent. Some families own a tent there and many companies have their own larger ones for their employees. I was lucky because at the time I was teaching English for both the electric company and that television/radio station Canal Sur so I had two casetas I could party in. (Also, if you have friends or friends of friends you will be invited in. Spaniards are generally jolly enough to do so.)

La portada, or the main entrance, is an important element of la Feria. Every year it has a different design and the fair doesn’t start until the entrance is lit up on Monday night with a special ceremony.

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As you walk up and down the roads you will assume that you traveled back in time. Women are dressed in flamenco dresses with a flower in their hair (which if you don’t have one you can buy as you enter the grounds) and mean are dressed in suits with a hat. If you are attending the festivities and aren’t able to dish out the money for formal wear, that’s okay! Dressing up is recommended, especially at night, but you don’t have to buy a $200 dress or suit.

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In the casetas, people will be enjoying many different snacks and drinks. Rebujito is the most common drink which is made with sherry and soda (think Sprite.) This is a cool and refreshing drink that people enjoy all day since by this time it is very warm already in southern Spain. During the day the festival is family friendly so many will be going on rides and playing games in la Calle del Infierno. At night, however, the music gets a little louder and people start signing and dancing Sevillanas. I suppose the “duende” of flamenco takes over and you begin to really experience what it is like to be in Spain.

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After a full week of celebrating the festival closes with a firework show on Sunday night. Everyone gathers together to watch the light sprinkle over the city as everything comes to an end. Until next year.

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