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Feria de Abril

Feria de Abril (1B)

Seville’s famous Feria de Abril takes place every year, a week or two after Easter. The fair started in 1847 when Queen Isabel II agreed to allow a cattle-trading fair to be held at Prado de San Sebastián. In 1850, the cattle market was separated from the grounds where the Sevillians would go just to have fun. By the 1920s the fair had morphed into its current form.

Preparation for this major event begins on 1st January every year with the ritual of building of the central fairgrounds. Construction begins with the magnificent “portada,” which is the gateway to the fair. The first portada was built in 1949 and since then, every year, it is dedicated to a monument or a building in the city, or even an important event.

The fair gets under way with “pescaíto” night, a dinner where the main dish is fried fish, before the “alumbrado” (or lighting), when thousands of lightbulbs and lanterns simultaneously illuminate the entrance and streets of the fairgrounds. The lighting officially takes place on the following Tuesday at midnight. 

From that moment on, the Sevillians are transformed for a week. The streets of the fairgrounds are filled with the sounds of song and dance, as well as crowds of people, horses, and guitars. Men normally dress in their signature hats and traditional riding garb, while the women show off their best colourful “faralaes” dresses. People take the opportunity to party at one of more than 1000 stands. However, keep in mind that it isn’t easy to gain access to these stands, since most of them are private. So if you don’t know anyone or don’t have an invitation, head over to the stands that belong to an association or political party, which are the only ones open to the public.

If you can get into a stand, you’ll find people singing, dancing, eating tapas and drinking traditional sherry. And in the past few years, a drink called the “rebujito” has become fashionable; it’s a refreshing combination of Manzanilla sherry and soda water, with lots of ice, to reduce the alcohol content. And if you make it to the end of the day, nothing is better than chocolate with churros to regain your strength for the next day of the fair. 

Horsemen with their adorned horses and carriages, women with their colourful flamenco dresses, the guitars, the joy, the dancing, the clapping... the Feria de Abril, it’s a unique festival. It is how Sevillians celebrate the spring.

Don’t forget that during the fair a big bullfighting festival is also going on. And in the Maestranza you can watch top bullfights with the best bullfighters of the season.

The Feria de Abril comes to an end with the dimming of the lights on the portada on the following Sunday, and a big fireworks display that takes place afterwards. 

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