Seville is definitely the best place to be in April! The tunics of the nazarenos haven’t even dried in the laundry shops properly and girls are already getting out their flamenco dresses for the Feria. Well, it’s not strictly true, they have been talking about the event all year round but now it’s everywhere around us! But what is the Feria exactly?
The Feria de April (or just THE Feria), the April Fair is the biggest fiesta in Seville, in (I bet you wouldn’t be able to guess) April. It starts two weeks after the Semana Santa. Well, it’s supposed to start at midnight on Sunday but it seems that people are just so excited about it that they can’t really wait that long, so there are many activities organised on the day before.
The origins of this spectacular fiesta are quite amusing actually. According to Wikipedia, the idea was to hold a livestock fair in the middle of the 19th century. They only needed to organise it twice before it was declared a fiesta by the appearance of the first casetas, the tents where different groups entertain their guests.
The dress code is obvious: the traje de flamenco, or the flamenco dress! The dresses themselves are already a sight to behold, full of colour and frill, a proper ‘LOOK AT ME’ look. And it’s not only the colours that are loud but also the fact that it’s very tight, so you better have a nice shape to go with it!
It seems that every single girl in this city has a picture of themselves on their phone wearing their chosen dress that we always dutifully admire with Paul. The average number of flamencas they own seem to be three, usually in different colours and styles. Here’s a tip if you want to practice your Spanish, you can have hour-long conversations about where to buy the cheapest/most stylish/most colourful etc. ones.
There are many shops that sell these dresses and it’s always nice to take a peek inside.
The dress itself is not all, though, you also have to sport all the accessories that come with it, the shoes which colours coordinate with the flamenca, the fan and the hair pins or big flowers to complete the look. They also sell ‘family outfits’, so that you can match with your little ones in colour and style. They sell these tiny dresses for little girls, too, they are absolutely gorgeous!
It’s not only the dress shops that have the Feria look written all over them. In the pharmacies you can see posters saying ‘don’t let a headache stand in your way on the Feria’, the phone companies go for the ‘make sure you can reach your friends on the Feria’ slogans and the shoe shops for the ‘be comfortable on the Feria’ lines. I find this all very amusing.
We have arranged with my students to go together so I will be able to give you a full account of the happenings from next week. I’m also going to attend a class to learn the basic steps of the Sevillana flamenco. Can’t wait!
Watch this space to learn about this all-out fiesta!