Every year the Andalusian capital of Seville, Spain, is taken over by a vibrant, elaborate, colourful event known as ‘Feria de Sevilla’ or ‘Feria de Abril’; a week-long extravaganza of dancing, non-stop socialising, eating and drinking. The fair of all fairs, a microcosm where the idiosyncrasy of the city unfolds with all its charm and power of seduction.
The Feria dates back to 1847 when it began as an agricultural and livestock festivity where cattle farmers would head into the city with their animals. Over the years the stables were turned into ‘casetas’, bringing the light, music and colour synonymous with the festival today.
Generally beginning two weeks after the Semana Santa, or Easter Holy Week. The fair officially begins at midnight on Saturday, starting with the night of the ‘alumbrao’, the inaugural moment when all the fairground lights are lit.
Feria de Sevilla is possibly the largest event in the calendar in Andalucia, with an area of 450,000 square meters covered. The fair is like a small, ornate town with over 1,000 ‘casetas’ (individual decorated marquee tents), lanterns, horsemen riding horses, women wearing the traje de gitana or faralaes (typical flamenco style dress) and bullfighting.
The traditional tents, known as ‘casetas’ are owned by influential local families, associations, groups of friends, and some are local clubs or political parties. Each ‘caseta’ has a bar and kitchen, providing guests with food and drink from midday until dawn.
Eating and drinking is at the heart of the festival, traditional ‘pescaíto frito’ (fried fish) is enjoyed on the first night. Throughout the week, mouth-watering dishes such as fried prawns, baby squids, red mullets, clams, other freshly caught seafood and Jamón Ibérico are some of the traditional dishes which can be found throughout the ‘casetas’. All enjoyed with the Feria de Sevilla’s signature drink (and one of our favourites), the Rebujito.
After a week of constant celebrating, the fair concludes on the following Saturday with a spectacular firework display over the Guadalquivir River.