As you read about THE biggest party in the world, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite Andalucian songs…
Two weeks after Semana Santa, Sevilla suits up to host a week long fair which is full of music, dancing, and some of the biggest rides I’ve seen in my life. People from all over Spain, and even the world wear flamenco dresses and suits to participate in this event. When I decided to study abroad in Sevilla I heard of Feria, everyone talked about it and said it was one of the best experiences they had there, so it had a lot to live up to. After experiencing it myself, I can say that Sevilla did not let me down, and that Feria is definitely something everyone should try to experience in their life, whether is by actually being part of it, or just walking around it and watching everything that goes on.
This year, Feria happened later than usual, as its name suggests it- Feria de Abril- is supposed to happen in April, but due to how late Holy Week was this year, Feria happened from May 4th- May 11th.
Feria starts Saturday at midnight, when the Portada (entrance) to the grounds is lit up. Every year there is a competition to choose the design of the door, which is one the most emblematic icons of Feria. Everyone who comes to Feria, Sevillians and tourists, participants and observers will walk through these doors into an experience they will never forget. Women wear their flamenco dresses with beautiful compliments, and men wear their best suits. People that own horses ride them through the streets, and others ride in horse carriages.
After going through la Portada, you encounter streets named after bullfighters which host hundred of hundreds of tents (casetas), the place where music is played, people dance, eat and spend their entire day during the week. If there is one thing I’ve learned about Sevillians is that sleep is always a second thought, people prefer to enjoy the time they have with their friends, dance, sing, and eat rather than go home and sleep. People spend their entire days at Feria, my host brother for example, left our house at 3pm and came back from Feria at 8 am the next morning… I know, it’s hard to believe but they have everything they need at their casetas- food, drinks, friends, music and obviously bathrooms, so spending their entire day there isn’t an issue (not to mention that schools close during feria!!).
As I mentioned before, women wear their flamenco dresses during this week, and that was probably my favorite thing to see and be a part of. For Sevillian women dressing up for Feria is just as important as prom is for many American girls, these dresses are usually made for each girl. They choose the fabric, the style, the complements, etc and many of them have several dresses, or different compliments (manton, flower, earrings) that they wear throughout the week. My host mom let me borrow one of the dresses her daughters don’t wear anymore, and after wearing it to Feria and dancing in it is safe to say that I want to wear a Flamenco dress for the rest of my life, they are so beautiful and make every woman feel as beautiful and special as they should feel.
Even though Feria gets very very hot, the tents get even hotter, and the dresses and suits don’t really help, Feria was such an amazing experience and I enjoyed every minute of it. Even though feria goes on for a week long, my friends and I were only able to go for 3 days, because after those 3 days we were absolutely exhausted and needed to lay in bed and rest our feet for a while.
Dancing sevillanas was definitely one of the highlights of Feria, and I am so glad I took the dance class at the Center because people of all ages dance them and it is so much fun!!! I even got to teach some of my friends how to dance them so they could join in.
It’s not like I needed any reassurance that Sevilla is the perfect place for me and THE most beautiful city in Europe, but it definitely helped me be even more sure about it. Feria is definitely an experience you will only get in Sevilla, I mean- where else will you get t0 dress up, dance, sing, eat, ride on horses and have no worries for a week?? Exactly, so next April make sure to make your way to Sevilla and learn how to dance sevillanas and drink rebujito (the typical Feria drink: Seven Up mixed with Manzanilla, a sweet spanish wine).