Discover: Spain’s fabulous ferias
In spring, many towns in southern Spanish celebrate with a colourful festival, or feria. If you enjoy traditional events, this could be a good time to book a walking or cycling holiday to the region of Andalucia. We reveal more about the annual extravaganza. The most famous fair is the Feria de Abril in the city of Seville.
Many traditions of the spring fairs
The Feria de Abril dates back to a cattle fair that took place in the grounds of the Prado de Sebastian in Seville 1847. Every year after this, the event grew and more and more people joined the fiesta. At the start there were three marquees or “casetas” that formed the focus of the socialising, eating and drinking at the festival. These grew in number each year, with greater numbers of people in attendance. By 1920s, the Feria de Abril had grown into the city’s biggest annual fiesta. In 1973, the event moved venue to its current location opposite the Parque de María Luisa in Barrio de los Remedios and in recent years more than 1,000 casetas have featured at the festival. The casetas are privately owned at Feria de Abril and people attend by invitation only. They are like fully equipped mini party houses with a bar, kitchen and music systems. The parties start in the early afternoon and continue for many hours into the evening. In other towns in Andalucia, the casetas are different because they are similar to open house parties. No one needs and invitation and you can simply turn up and enjoy the entertainment.
Brightly lit Portada. Pic credit: Agustín Macías on Creative Commons Licence.
The first Monday night of the Feria de Abril is known as La Noche del Pescaíto (fish night). The people of the city eat a traditional fish meal and then head to the Portada entrance to the Feria where thousands of lights are switched on by the Mayor of Seville at midnight. Tuesday is the first official day of the Feria de Abril. This day features horseback parades with women wearing flamenco dresses and men in their traditional suits known as el traje corto.
The festival also features a number of mid-day processions called the Paseo de Caballos when people in traditional clothes ride horses to the Real Maestranza bullring. Every evening, bullfights take place at this Plaza de Toros. Pescaito frito (fried fish) is a traditional food at the feria, as well as many other Spanish foods such as tapas. Sweet treats include cotton candy (candyfloss) and churros. A dry white sherry called Rebujito is often associated with the feria, as well as CruzCampo, a beer most commonly associated with southern Spain. You’ll love to watch – and listen to – the Sevillanas, a traditional dance that women and men do together. Children learn Sevillanas from a young age.
A walking or cycling adventure is our favourite way to experience authentic Spain, off the beaten path. Browse our holidays in Andalucía or anywhere else in Spain, and of course you can contact us for any travel advice or inspiration at firstname.lastname@example.org.