Feria de Abril
Feria de Abril (translates as April Fair in Spanish) is an annual festival that occurs in Seville, Spain. The festival begins two weeks after Easter and we were lucky enough to be visiting Seville at that time. The whole city gets involved in a massive procession/parade followed by food, drink and partying lasting a week.
Feria begins with the parade of Seville’s leading citizens around the bullring, riding in horse and carriage. They wear traditional flamenco dress for the women and bullfighter uniform for the men. It is a spectacle to watch the procession of citizens leave the bullring and make their way down the streets. Crowds line the streets to see beautifully kept horses/mules alongside wonderfully dressed Sevillianos.
The parade heads towards the fairground just outside of the city centre, where the streets are lined with Casetas. Casetas are individually decorated marquee like tents which are temporality built for the festival. Many of these Casetas are owned by prominent families of Seville including politicians, football teams (such as Betis or Sevilla) and unions (amongst many others). As a tourist, you may find yourself disappointed with the lack of choice; since entry to most Casestas will not be valid for entry, unless you have an affiliation to the owner of the Caseta. There are however, a few public Casetas where you can have a drink and enjoy the spirit of Feria. These Casetas get lively in the evening and are very reasonably priced for a drink. We had a Gin and tonic each and it came to under €5 and beers were around €1.50 each.
Once the parade of Sevillianos reaches the fairground, the whole area comes alive. All night long, people are dancing, partying and enjoying themselves. The giant gate is lit up at midnight on the Monday to crowds of a million. To put it in perspective only 700,000 people live in Seville itself.
From what I have learnt from seeing Feria for myself, is that it is a celebration of the history and culture of Seville. People here are very proud of their heritage and they use Feria de Abril to show this. Throughout our journey in Seville we witnessed impromptu street side Flamenco performances (Seville also being the home of this dance) as well as great food and drink deals in restaurants around the city.
For the best view of the procession of matadors and Sevillianos with their horses, climb the Torre del Oro (Gold Tower) for €3. Here you can watch the procession move towards the fairground. From the top of the tower you have a panoramic view of the whole procession seeing a lot more than public below you!
It is so worth visiting Seville at this time of the year for an experience like not other!