Journals from Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies
Some good friends of mine and I at the Feria
Saludos a todos!
Well, the last time I wrote, I described for you all Holy Week here in Sevilla, but now it is time to explain the second most famous week in this beautiful city " the week of Feria, or the April Fair. It took place a little over a week ago, and like Semana Santa, lasted a whole week, starting on Monday night, when they lit up the fairgrounds in the alumbrao, or Andalusian Spanish for lighting.
The whole idea of Feria is this: close to my neighborhood in Triana there is a giant fairground with hundreds of tents that are decorated with stripes on the outside and with tables, chairs, a stage, a bar, and other colorful decorations on the inside. Like any good fair, it also has quite a few rides, or cachorritos as they say here, to one side. Feria is a week of dancing, eating, drinking, riding horses, and getting dressed up. Most of the casetas (or tents) are private, which means you have to know someone who invites you there to be able to enter, but there are a few private ones as well.
Some of my American friends and I were trying to think of ways to describe Feria. It has a certain ambiente, or atmosphere that is hard to describe. The best that we came up with is that it is like a mixture of a really big prom, the 4th of July, and summer county fairs, all of course with a Spanish feel to it. The reason it is like a prom is that practically all of the women are dressed up in flamenco dresses with shawls, fans, and flowers and combs in their hair. The men also get dressed up in suits. The people wander through the streets or hang out in the casetas dancing, eating jamon (ham, which is famous here) and other tapas and drinking rebujito, the traditional Feria drink.
I didnt have a flamenco dress, but I did my best in a skirt and top with all of the accessories that my host mom so nicely let me borrow. I went to the Feria five times that week, which was actually a lot. It is fun, but can be exhausting, because half the time you are wandering around trying to meet up with people, and the rest of the time you are trying to figure out which caseta to enter and if you all can fit, and if there is room for you to dance Sevillanas (the typical traditional dance here in Sevilla during Feria). I took lessons on how to dance this from my friends, and although I never quite got all of the steps as there are many to learn, I at least learned how to act confident and dramatic and pretend I knew what I was doing, because that is the key! The music for the dance is very upbeat and fun and very unique.
Feria is probably the most beautiful during the day. There are more families out and about, all dressed up (even the babies), and there are people riding on horses or in carriages or buggies pulled by horses. The atmosphere is cheerful and festive, and it is just a very colorful (in the literal sense) sight. There are so many different types of flamenco dresses! It is unbelievable. You really have to be there to understand just how many people go to Feria dressed up. It is almost a sensory overload to be there with all of the sights, smells, and sounds. But all in all it was a fun week, and I do not think I have ever experienced anything like it!