Despite the inevitable showers and thunderstorms of springtime, this time of year is pleasant throughout Spain and particularly colorful in the city of Seville. Springtime in Seville could also be considered one of the country’s most traditional times and places, thanks to the picturesque and lively festival celebrated in the city during the month of April, hence the name Feria de Abril (April Fair).
The Feria de Abril, a genuine Seville creation, is also celebrated throughout Spain in cities that, over time, have caught on to the infectious character of this world-famous celebration. However, the most authentic, as well as the largest and most vibrant, is without a doubt the Feria de Abril in Seville. With over a century and a half of history under its belt, its popularity has grown constantly since its conception, thus forcing organizers to seek out increasingly larger fairgrounds to accommodate the influx of both locals and visitors. Currently it’s celebrated in the Los Remedios neighborhood, but it’s likely to change locations for the umpteenth time to some area of greater proportions.
The Feria de Abril consists of a multitude of casetas, or tent-like structures, which are organized into rows in a town-like arrangement of streets that festival-goers can walk through. In bygone times these casetas were probably stables or separate tarps, but these days there are construction and set-up rules that have given the fairgrounds a uniform look and characteristic image. Within these casetas, of which there are currently over 2,000 and which can be either private or public, the very best of Andalusia’s gastronomy is served up, ranging from the famous manzanilla (a type of sherry) to pescaíto frito (little fried fish), Spanish sausage and more. Along with pleasing your stomach with these delicacies, you can also delight in some of the artistic expressions typical of the region, such as sevillanas (popular Sevillian music and dance) or flamenco, whose rhythms help create an atmosphere that’s both special and intoxicating.
This is fostered in good part by all the iconography characteristic of the Feria de Abril, ranging from the decoration of the casetas to a whole series of elements that are never lacking and are an authentic exaltation of all that is Andalusian. Whether it’s in the streets or inside the casetas, at the Feria de Abril you can see girls and women donning the typical dresses – famous for being the same type of dress that flamenco dancers wear -, adorned with mantones (shawls) and peinetas (combs). Likewise, you can see boys and men wearing the elegant traje de corto, the typical horse-riding suit, topped with classic Cordoban hat. Last but certainly not last are the spruced-up horses, either ridden by a single rider or hitched up to the characteristic Sevillian carriages, upon which the most decked out participants like to ride and show off.
You also can’t help but be impressed by the amazing illumination of the fairgrounds, which lights up the Sevillian nights during this one unforgettable week, or the tireless energy of the so-called “Calle del Infierno” (Street of Hell), an avenue flanked by all sorts of rides and stalls that capture the attention of both the young and young at heart. The Feria de Abril always has and always will have something to offer to anyone who has the pleasure of experiencing it.
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