Hey everyone! It’s official, we’re finally State-side again for the summer. Although we are back in the USA, we have a few posts to finish up about Spain over the next few weeks. The first and most important is about FERIA! We actually went to two Feria’s this year, the most famous being Feria de Abril (April fair) in Sevilla and the second being our own town’s Feria (in Alcalá), which happened at the beginning of June.
You might be wondering, what is Feria? Feria is a large fair that begins two weeks after Easter (so the exact dates change every year). A large area of the city is transformed into fairgrounds, filled with streets of casetas (individual decorated tents) and lights. Many individual families, clubs or political parties own the casetas and you can only enter if you know someone. There are also some public casetas as well, but a lot of the time they are filled with teenagers and tourists. It’s best to go to Feria in Sevilla if you have friends or know someone there. Each caseta feels like a tiny home, with bathrooms, a kitchen in the back, a bar, and seating for everyone. Some even have dance floors.
The entrance of Feria has a large, lighted “Portada” where everyone gathers on Monday morning at 12:00am to watch light up. That is technically the begining of Feria and it ends six days later, on Sunday. For one week, the people of Sevilla dress in their finest wear, eat, dance, sing and go on rides. The woman wear Flamenco dresses (trajes de gitanas) and the men dress in suits or like cowboys (vaqueros). Everyone dances the traditional “Sevilliana”, which has four (complicated) parts to it. (Mark and I attempted to learn Part 1 but it’s difficult to keep up with the Spanish!)
The history of the Feria is interesting as well. It all began in 1847 in Sevilla as a livestock trading fair. The following year, the first 3 casetas emerged, changing the atmosphere of the fair into a social event as well. As the years went by, Feria began gaining popularity and reached it’s peak in the 1920’s where it became the spectacle that it is today.
We only went to Feria de Sevilla once, on a Thursday night. We luckily met up with some coworkers who had friends with casetas, so we had no problem getting into places. Our friends introduced us to Rebujito, which is Sprite mixed with Manzanilla wine. This is only drank during Feria and is very sweet (and dangerous)! I wasn’t the biggest fan, but it seems like the most popular thing to drink at Feria!
After our coworkers went home, we were able to meet up with one of Mark’s teammates who lives in Sevilla. We ended up staying out until 7:00am the next day!! My feet were so sore from wearing heels all night. We ended up sleeping until 8pm Friday night! Luckily for us, the rainy weather that weekend gave us a good excuse to miss the rest of Feria!
Feria de Sevilla also has a famous street called “Calle Infierno” where there are amusement park rides and games for everyone! It’s a completely different atmosphere than the streets of casetas but very popular for the children.
We had two days off from work for the Feria in Alcalá. We went the first night (which was Wednesday night) to watch the Portada light up and see the fireworks. The following day we went to Feria later in the afternoon (after the heat had gone) and met up with some more coworkers. It was fun to eat and drink with all of our new friends from school. We also saw a lot of our students there as well! We ended up dancing until 3:30am, but had to call it an “early” night because we had plans to leave for Gibraltar the next day to visit another friend!
It honestly feels like you’ve traveled back in time when you visit Feria. The casetas make little streets and turn into a town of their own. One of my favorite memories of Spain is the night we spent at the Feria de Sevilla! I’ve never experienced anything like it. The Spanish certainly know how to throw a party!!
Until next year, Feria!
Hasta luego, Amanda
P.S. Check out our updated Feria blog post for 2017 here!