- Stephanie Lam
Feria de Abril
The Feria de Abril is one of the most amazing cultural experiences that I have been a part of in my life. Not only was it a beautiful fair full of colors and lights, but it was also filled to the brim with tradition and Sevillana flair. The music, the dancing, the drinking, the food and let's not forget about the flamenca dresses! There's so much to talk about, so let's start from the beginning:
My boyfriend, Antonio, was born and raised in Seville, Spain. Ever since we met, he has been raving about the Feria and telling me how much I would love it! One of the main reasons why we went back to Spain this month was for the Feria! I had no idea what to expect until a few days before when I started Googling images of the Feria. A few minutes spent Googling and I was so excited to dress up! As it was my first Feria, I didn't want to spend too much money purchasing a new flamenca dress, so I instead borrowed a couple of dresses and mantoncillos from Antonio's sister.
The Feria lasts all week long and most people don't attend the Feria every day, unless they're perfectly fine running on practically no sleep! We ended up going four days straight! The first night was the night the Feria started. Most people don't dress up in flamenca the first night, but that doesn't keep the food and drinks from flowing! We stayed out until 4 in the morning that night drinking and dancing, but that was just the beginning!
The Dress and the Dance
The next day was the "big day". With the help of his sister, within an hour, I had transformed into a real flamenca! It's traditional to wear darker colors if you were going to the Feria only at night time, so I wore the dark purple dress with a black mantoncillo, or scarf, and a white flower the first night we were there. We met up with Antonio's cousins for a long night to come of dancing, drinking and partying. If you saw any of my insta-Stories, then you would have seen videos of traditional Sevillana dance. It is one of the most beautiful, and coordinated dances that I have ever seen. My goal is to learn to dance traditional Sevillana by next year! There's so much emotion in their movements, a story-telling of sorts through their dancing. And let's not forget how beautiful the dress is with each twirl and spin during the dance! Que arté, olé!
You will see in the pictures below that on the other days I wore a baby blue polka-dotted dress and I changed the mantoncillos each day and the flowers! Now that I understand just how important your flamenca dress is, for sure, the next year when I go, I will definitely get a beautiful red flamenca dress that fits perfectly to my body! I can't wait!
The Fair Grounds
The Feria is truly massive, it’s almost it’s own city! On one side, you have streets filled with individual casetas, or tents. Each caseta is privately owned, though there are a few public casetas, and each are equipped with a full bar and kitchen. Let me tell you, there were some super posh casetas with a full on security team guarding the entrance! Being that Antonio is from Sevilla, we spent every night caseta hopping and there was never a moment when there wasn’t a drink in my hand. The drink of choice at the Feria is called rebujito. It’s a mixture of manzanilla and Sprite! I wasn’t a fan at first, but eventually grew to love it as it was really light and great for sipping!
On the other side, there is an actual fair, with rides and fair games, think O.C. Fair! We ventured on to that side, which they call “Calle Inferno”, a few times and Antonio probably spent over 20 euros trying to throw darts at balloons! Although, in the end I did win a Minion!
Now back to the Feria: during the day, the streets are filled with caballos, horses, and caballeros, the gentlemen riding the horses, and there are horse carriages. The carriages are also privately owned by families and they spend the day going to friend’s houses providing a traditional carriage ride to the fair grounds. The caballeros, and even amazonas, women riding the horses, were dressed to the nines in traditional riding gear. Many of the horses too had beautiful decorations around them, too! There isn’t a detail to be missed at the Feria that’s for sure! At around 9 PM, the horses and carriages are escorted off the fair grounds, however.
Every night we stayed out until 5 or 6 in the morning, I was practically a walking zombie! But it was so worth it! There's so much about the Feria that I could keep talking about, but for now, I'll let the photos do the talking. I promise that I'll be back next year Sevilla! Te quiero!