It’s one of Spain’s most glorious festivals. A colourful celebration of the coming of spring, La Feria de Abril is a time to mix and mingle, sing and dance, eat and drink, and to party like there’s no tomorrow!
In true Spanish style, there’s a lot of tradition behind Seville’s best festival. So, if you’re a newbie, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of this week-long shindig. Luckily, TEFL Iberia is on hand to help out.
Festivities usually kick off two weeks after Semana Santa (Easter holy week). The opening night is known as the Alumbrao (the lighting) and takes place on the second Saturday after Easter at midnight.
It takes place in the Real de la Feria – a designated area between the neighbourhoods of Los Remedios and Tablada.
For a whole week, Sevillanos stage parades and set up over 1,000 colourful tents along a stretch of 15 streets in which much of the revelry takes place.
These tents are known as casetas – literally ‘small houses’, and that’s exactly what they’re meant to be. They’re furnished to resemble a cosy living room, bringing a homely feel to the festivities.
Most of the more than 1,000 casetas are private, belonging to local families, businesses, political groups, charities, or clubs. However, there are also a few public casetas at La Feria de Abril so visitors can take part in the night-time celebrations.
Locals go ALL OUT when it comes to dressing for La Feria de Abril. Expect to see the guys looking like something out of a Spanish costume drama, and the ladies looking like they should be on a Flamenco stage.
For visitors, there’s no requirement to match the sky high standards set by the Andaluscians. However, you should definitely dress up – go for bright colours, accessorise, express yourself! Just remember to prioritise comfort and take a jacket or cardigan, as the nights turn chilly.
The Seville fair has been going since 1848, when locals would set up stalls to serve food and drink to farmers visiting the cattle market. Since then, it has become a sort of unofficial tribute to the start of spring. It’s also a celebration of Andaluscian culture – the biggest of its kind, with half a million people attending every day!
In fact, the importance of La Feria de Abril de Sevilla goes beyond cultural influence. It’s also hugely important to Andluscia economically, making up about 3% of the entire GDP of the region in just one week.
You’ll find typical Sevillan tapas dishes such as pescaíto frito (small fried fish), salmorejo (a refreshing cold soup, like the Andalusian version of gazpacho), gambas (prawns) and traditional tortilla.
Fuelling the festivities is the Andalusian cocktail rebujito – a mouthwatering mix of Manzanilla (kind of like a sherry), lemonade, mint, sugar, and ice that’s actually based on the American cocktail Sherry Cobbler.
During the festival, you’ll hear Sevillanas – a flamenco style of music and dance that’s specific to Andaluscia. It’s similar to flamenco, but less of the drama, with more of a focus on the sensual side of things.
Don’t be a clueless guiri! Follow these tips and you’ll get the most out of your time at La Feria de Abril.