Easter, known as ‘Semana Santa’ is the most prestigious (and religious) holiday in Spain.
That is why two weeks after Easter, Seville kicks up a storm and the Feria begins!
Normally celebrated in April, this year’s late Easter dates have forced the move of Sevilla’s April feria to May, still two weeks after Easter. Starts on the 5th of May.
With festivities taking place around the clock, locals abandon themselves into the merriment of the Feria, which is much more than just a fair.
The huge festival (feria) ground (it’s normal each city has one of these) is crowded with hundreds of colorful huts, called casetas in Spanish. These casetas offer local Andalusian dishes and wines, with tables and chairs that allow you to sit back and watch the splendor of colorful Sevillana dresses and men in their traditional attire, pass you by. Casetas are also places where to dance ‘Sevillana’, a more casual (and less demanding) kind of Flamenco dancing that anybody can do. This popular and traditional folk dance is celebrated both inside and outside the casetas.
Sevillanas, often confused with ‘Flamenco’, is popular in many European dance halls but is not real flamenco. It’s a type of flamenco that anybody can dance!
Outside on the streets is where the mixtures of aromas from BBQ meats and sardines, various herbs, tastiness of wine and sweetness of sherry, even horse dung — all key components of a great Feria.
Large groups of of festival-goers make their way through the streets — music booms out — there is dancing on stages, on streets, everywhere. Feria turns night into day and day into night, celebrating has no limit.
Ferias date back to 1847 when they were originally corn and cattle markets with agricultural shows. Over time this has developed into a Spring Festival and today is a mixture of a fair, dance festival and entertainment — a wild spectacle for the senses.
Ferias are thirsty work, and between all the wine and sherry it’s important to have some bites to eat.
That’s essentially why tapas were created, to fill the hunger that so often comes in stages. Most popular tapas are olives, grilled gambas (prawns) but Spain is also famous for their meats. You will see multiple BBQ’s outside casetas serving anything from local sausages, pork to beef, steaks to ribs, you name it. Meat lovers, Ferias are for you.