Feria de Abril de Sevilla (The Seville April Fair) is a festival that begins two weeks after the Easter Holy Week in Spain. This is a week of serious dancing, drinking, and eating. The Fair dates to 1847 when it was organized as a livestock fair.
The Fair dates to 1847 when it was organized as a livestock fair. Later, during the 1920s, the fair reached its peak and became the spectacular event that it is today. The fair is a vibrant and secular indulgence that comes two weeks after Holy Week, which is also a unique and special event – especially in Sevilla.
The Feria de Abril takes place at the real de la Feria, which is an area of 24 blocks, located between Los Remedios and Tablada. The main gate is unique each year, and its construction starts several months in advance and takes a few weeks to clear the place after the end of the Feria.
La Feria de Abril de Sevilla
During the Sevilla April Fair, people dress up in elaborate finery, parade around in horse carriages (the paseo de Caballos), eat delicious meals, drink and dance a popular fiesta dance called simply as Sevillana.
The opening of the fair is marked by a traditional lighting ceremony at the fairground, an event known as the Alumbrao (El alumbrao).
La noche del pescaíto is the night when the April Fair celebrations start. The lights of Portada (the main gate) are turned on and people gather in front of it to watch the event and then they go to the casetas to have dinner and have some fun.
Tuesday is the first official day of the festival when there are horseback parades through the fairground, with a lot of elegantly dressed “Sevillanas”.
La Feria de Abril casetas, dress code and bullfights
The area where the Feria takes place, covers 1.2 square kilometers, including the amusement park. The casetas are canvas tent pavilions arranged along 12 streets in this area. There are over a thousand tents across Guadalquivir River from downtown Sevilla.
Most of these tents belong to eminent local families, businesses, clubs, and political parties. Most of them are private and open exclusively to members and their own guests.
Though it’s supposed to be a private affair, casual tourists can have a fun and memorable evening by simply crashing the party – it’s not unheard of to strike up an impromptu friendship and be invited in. However, there are seven casetas which are open to the public. There is the caseta muncipal and one public tent for each of six districts of Seville.
Traje corto is a traditional costume for men during the Fair. These include tight trousers and boots, together with a traditional short jacket. The men also traditionally wear hats or sombreros.
Women are traditionally wearing a flamenco-style dress, the trajes de flamenca or simply the “faralaes”. Every evening some of the year’s top bullfights take place at the historic Plaza de Toros. Tickets for these events are often sold a few months in advance. The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla is the oldest bullring in Spain and is considered the home of bullfighting.
In keeping with the tradition, today’s riders continue to the bullring, where they meet up with other breeders. As the sun sets, the bullfights end.