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Feria de Abril

Feria de Abril

I could just sense the anticipation and excitement of the Spanish students in my classes for this week of dancing, drinking and eating. Considering it only comes once a year and it’s a tradition that dates back more than 150 years, which most of these students’ families have participated in, I could sort of understand where they’re coming from. But at the same time,was it really that necessary to cancel 3 days of university classes for it (Some students couldn’t even hold themselves back from going to the Feria during Monday and Tuesday’s class).

Sure, it’s a beautiful event to encounter, with the colorful “trajes de flamenco” that women wear and dance in and men dressed in their Sunday’s best but to go everyday of the week and partake in the repetitive action of drinking, eating and dancing, I simply couldn’t fathom. But then again according to the locales it’s one of the most exciting times of year.

The feria takes place every year on the same grounds in the Remedios neighborhood of Sevilla. “Casetas” or little houses that each family or organization sponsors is set up. Inside these casetas there are usually two sections. In the front you will find tables set up to eat and in the back resembles a small disco tech with a hardwood floor and a bar, where people dance Sevillanas. These “Casetas” are usually decorated on the inside with paintings, scarves and objects that represent the cultural history of Sevilla. Also, each facade of the Caseta has a distinct name or image that differentiates it from the rest.

As you walk out of a Caseta you will find yourself in an area called Real de la Feria, where many other families have Casetas. In the streets you will see people chatting in groups and horse drawn carriages and people riding horses. It seems a bit like you’ve been transported back in time with everyone wearing their traditional costumes.  As you walk west you will run into the “Calle del Inferio” or hell road. This area has numerous amusement rides, a circus, and other entertaining fair games. This area also included bumper cars which I partook in with a friend and it had been probably 10 years since I last sat in one. In addition, later in the evening you have impromptu “rebujito” stations composed of a cardboard box and the ingredients that make a “rebujito” on top, which is the official fair drink. The complicated cocktail contains sherry wine and usually 7-up. It’s a sweet and refreshing drink that can ONLY be consumed during the Feria.

In addition, if you are interested, in the center of the city, there are bull fights going on in the official stadium, Plaza de Toros. Though, I was interested in seeing a match they were not only too expensive for my budget but they were also too violent for me to handle.

As I walked the streets of the Feria, observing people from all ages dancing to the sounds of the sevillanas, I could just sense their pride and joy in partaking in these events. La Feria was more than just a once a year fair with tapas, roller coasters and lots of horses, it was a demonstration of their passion, honor and commitment to their rich history and culture.

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