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Journals from Sevilla, Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies

2011-06-05 The Feria de Abril

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Flamenco dresses, legs of ham, and carnival games. Yes, they can go together.

CC-CS led up to the Feria de Abril with a flamenco fashion show – with students dressing up in borrowed flamenco dresses – and focused on the hair and make-up styling typical to flamenco fashion. We also had a party at the center and danced sevillanas (a sort of Sevilla version of flamenco) and entertained our intercambios.

The Feria de Abril, which was in May due to how late Semana Santa was this year, was crazy fun. It was one of those experiences where you look at the pictures and there is no chance you could mistake it for taking place anywhere else. It was purely Spanish. The six-day long fair started off on Monday with the Dia del Alumbrao when huge crowds gathered to watch the illumination of all the thousands of lights of the entrance to the fairgrounds. Although it clearly held a lot of meaning for the Sevillanos packed in around us, I honestly felt a little let down by it. The lights turned on. It was pretty. It wasn’t really worth the long walk and pushing through the crowds.

The feria is divided into two parts. One part is filled with casetas, thousands of beautiful tents with food and drink and dancing. Every caseta is different, and all but a few are private. This means that in order to enter them you need to be invited. Which made it a little hard, particularly for students who had only been there for a couple months. But even if you didn’t get any invitations, you can still have a lot of fun at feria. The other part of the feria is a huge, typical carnival complete with rides, haunted houses, carnival food, and arcade games.

Nearly all of the girls wear flamenco dresses. I don’t think I ever saw two girls wearing the same dress. They came in all colors, patterns, and lengths. It was fantastic. The men mainly wore regular clothes, but dressed up a bit. Some wore suits, but a lot wore nice jeans with button-up shirts. Even the littlest children in their strollers were dressed in the ruffle dresses, twirling their wrists flamenco-style. But however adorable the little kids were, my favorite part were the girls in flamenco dresses riding the theme park rides. It was hilarious watching the skirts flying around and their hair as they walked off, knowing they had to have spent a long time getting the peineta and flower perfectly placed.

I loved just walking around with my roommates watching the dancing, searching for the best ice cream, and enjoying the rides. People stayed at feria for hours, from the afternoon through to the next morning. Luckily, the weather held, unlike during Semana Santa and nothing was canceled. The week of festivities ended with fireworks and one final night of dancing and excitement.

-Rachelle Agosti

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