The 32nd of April

¡ya estamos en Feria!

Well here it is – the largest festival to take hold of Sevilla, and possibly all of Andalucia. La Feria de Abril. As noted by the clever Cruzcampo ad at left, the city will open the festival on the “32nd of April” or, the 2 of May. The date of Feria depends on Semana Santa which depends on Easter which depends on the lunar cycle .. etc. Regardless, Feria is one week earlier than usual and it kicks off today. As the ad says,Somos capaces de alargar el tiempo: Somos Sur .. We have the ability to lengthen time: We are the South. ¡Toma!

As you might imagine, the vocabulary that goes along with this festival is vast. After all they’ve been celebrating since Queen Isabel II gave the go ahead in 1847. It started as a showing ground for cattle and has evolved into the biggest party in the South. Dancing, bullfights, arrival to the fairgrounds on horseback .. a throwback to different times. Here are some of the basics.

caseta – these are tents that resemble something you would see at a graduation party in someone’s backyard in the US. They are privately hosted tents that can be owned by families, businesses or other groups. I recently discovered that they are named for famous bullfighters. A sign of wealth, some Spaniards will say that Feria is not worth it unless you have an enchufe with a caseta. The Feria in nearby Jerez, in contrast, is public.

Sevillanas – the traditional dance that is practiced by all little girls in the region, and danced by everyone from age 5 to age 65. It is made up of pasos and a series of steps, hand motions and a serious dose of bravado. It is easily one of the most sensual dances on offer here in Spain.

traje corto (for men) –  the traditional costume for men composed of tight pants, short jacket, high boots.

traje de flamenco (for women) – the stereotypical “Spanish dress” as seen in numerous photos, and pictured here on this vintage postcard.

lunares – the spots on the flamenco dress, not to be confused with manchas which means spots. Lunares are literally translated to “freckles” .. you can imagine how difficult this is between English and Spanish. Dresses don’t have freckles, people do!

volante – this is the word for “ruffle.” Each year the style of the dress evolves – two ruffles or three, sleeves or sleeveless, big ruffles or little ones, several layers or one layer and on and on. The options are endless. Some women have a different dress for each day of the festival (6 in total)!

manzanilla – a type of vino fino that goes down way too easily on a hot summer day. If you add soda it becomes a rebujito.

As usual, Jeff at ExploreSeville comes to the rescue with a guide to all things Feria that you can see here. Wikipedia US also has a fair entry here (the Spanish version is better, of course).

Kim from the UK just started following my Twitter feed, and I found her excellent A to Z for Feria here on her blog. She’s been living in Andalucia since 2009 and is somewhat of an extranjero expert! Cheers, Kim 🙂

Stay tuned for photos and more tales from the Feria ..

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6 thoughts on “The 32nd of April

  1. We were in Seville recently and just loved it. The Alcazar is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. I would love to go back. Maybe I’ll go next year for the Feria.

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    • I have to agree – the Alcazar is probably my favorite monument here, especially now with the gardens in bloom. Come to Feria if you have a caseta .. otherwise you will wander around for a long time without actually doing anything!

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  2. Hope you’re enjoying Feria!

    FYI the streets of the Feria are named after famous bullfighters (Joselito El Gallo, Juan Belmonte, etc…) The casetas are named after the associations that own them, ours for instance is the “Club de Pesca San Rafael”, basically a neighborhood organization. BORING. There are some really cool names out there, look above the main door of a caseta to check them out. One I saw once that caught my eye was “Las doce horas del Lunes Santo”. Way to run Semana Santa right into Feria!

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    • Gracias, Sarita! I have been having the experience where someone says I’m on “José de no sé que de no sé cual” .. sabes donde esta?” lol I need a map. Thanks for the tip – I’m going to start peeking at the names of the tents 🙂

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