The Feria here in Seville is a big spring event that many look forward to every year. Throughout the past week as I walked through the streets of the fairgrounds, I found it to be something pretty difficult to explain unless you already have an idea of what it is about. So I will do my best and add in some of my own experiences as well.
It starts with preparation of the houses/tents or casetas months in advance because although they aren’t permanent, they are quite detailed and sturdy in case of rain and each of them has an actual floor, bar and restroom inside.Each tent is set up so people have a place to spend time together talking and sharing laughs over food and drinks with music in the background and an area to dance the traditional sevillanas.
They also begin construction quite early on the portada or main entrance, where each year there is a different theme of something in the city. For example, this year it was built to look like the Spain Plaza (a famous monument here in Seville). On Monday night at midnight is when they have the customary lighting of the portada which marks the official beginning of Feria.I went and joined the crowds of people who filled the streets as we waited for the almost 150 foot tall structure to turn on all 20,000 lights. Afterwards, I went with a few friends to their tent and we danced the first sevillanas of the week.
Throughout the course of the week, I met up with a lot of friends and we ventured together through the rides and the tents dancing, talking, and having a good time enjoying the Spanish celebration. I learned that there are over 100 private tents, and about 7 public ones that belong to the districts of the city. The private tents can either belong to a family, group of families, a club, or even a company. It just depends; but more and more with the crisis and the high cost of having a tent, they are usually shared so that fees are more affordable. Thankfully, I was able to go into several tents and got to see a wide variety since some are bigger than others, some have more decorations, and so on.
It was all a very exciting and at times a little overwhelming, since I had never seen anything like this, but I enjoyed it greatly and hope one day to be back during this time of the year.