Scribbler in Seville

Scenes from the Feria de Abril in Sevilla

Teenagers hanging out, as you do, at the portada of the Feria

Teenagers hanging out, as you do, at the portada of the Feria.

Makes a change from sloping around the shopping centre. These young people have arranged a rendez-vous at the Feria entrance gate, the portada, a popular meeting point. They say that many people meet their media naranja – other half – at the Feria de Sevilla (I know a few who did) – so who knows if some of these chavales and chavallas will end up together? The girls all look stunning, while the boys are less impressive. Overawed by the bright beauties; hovering like moths around a flame.

I love this woman's bright orange dress, with the farolillos (paper lanters) behind.

I love how this woman’s bright orange dress happens to co-ordinate perfectly with the farolillos (paper lanterns) behind.

Women in frilly dresses riding side-saddle behind men in their traje cortos (short jacket, high-waisted trousers and Cordobes hat) are one of my favourite Feria sights. This lady was beaming and delighted to have her photo taken – complete with admirer gazing up at her adoringly from down below. Who knows what the story with these three was.

Feria de Abril, April Fair, Sevilla, Seville Fair, Spring Fair

Double-dating at the Feria.

Riding around the Feria with your media naranja, and perhaps another couple, stopping off at your friends’ casetas for a glass of fino, is a key part of the experience for jinetes and their gitanas. If you don’t have your own horse, you can hire one for the day. Horses must, naturally, look their best too – groomed to within an inch of their lives, with gleaming coats, and exquisitely-coiffured, with expertly plaited mane and tail.

Riding around the Feria in a carriage - every little girl's dream.

Riding around the Feria in a carriage – every little girl’s dream.

Most little girls are obsessed with princesses, palaces and castles, so wearing a frilly dress and sitting in a magnificent carriage being pulled by a horse has to be high up there on most niñas’ wishlists. Cinderella, anyone? (My four-year-old daughter would combust with delight at the chance to do this.)

 

Feria de Abril, Feria de SEvilla,

Some quality time with the family, listening to another of Tio Pepe’s yarns.

But riding in a carriage around the Feria, where such transports are allowed until 8pm, is also a good chance for a family get-together, accompanied by some classic Sevillano tall-story telling. Everything is exaggerated when someone here recounts an incident – details will be overblown for dramatic or comic effect. Add some sunshine and sherry, and you’ve got the makings of a very entertaining afternoon.

Dancing to a guitar - no dance floor here, just joyous singing and clapping.

Dancing to a guitar – no dance floor here, just joyous singing and clapping.

This caseta is always full of good cheer – like most casetas it is private, but when I stop here to take photos, they never fail to invite me in, offer me a glass of sherry and treat me like a friend. Warm, delightful women who aren’t here to posture and show off how rich they are and how many friends they have. They just want to dance, sing and celebrate life. Salt of the earth.

Dancing Sevillanas outside a caseta.

Dancing Sevillanas outside a caseta.

Dancing in the street – most Sevillanas are danced inside casetas, the small, striped tents, but this year temperatures were so high that the tents were steamingly hot and stuffy; many people took their baile outside where the air was less stifling.

Nothing like a group of girls in flamenca dresses.

Nothing like a group of girls in flamenca dresses. The little girl on the right of the picture doesn’t look too impressed, does she?

Young girls get dressed up in their flamenca dresses from an early age, going to friends’ and family’s casetas in groups. Friendships are cemented over Feria experiences – first kisses, first boyfriends – it’s all part of growing up in Seville.

This year’s Feria finished last Sunday; next year’s is on 29 April – 4 May 2014. Horse and/or carriage optional; frilly dress strongly advised.

21 thoughts on “Scenes from the Feria de Abril in Sevilla

  1. the artichoke adventures

    Nice one Fiona, So true that Spanish fiestas even now are an amazing social event which are prominent in all cities,towns and vilages as the most important date of the year and where people still have such important experiences.

    1. Fiona Flores Watson

      It’s true Paddy, they are utterly central to life – people save up all year for them, and it’s very important to make a good show. Always hard to explain how important it is (along with the romeria) for local people as the annual shindig – just nothing comparable in England. These events are so tightly, closely community-focussed, whether it’s a big city like Seville or a small town.

  2. Mad Dog

    You got great weather for the Feria and fab pictures too! I love the idea of dating like that – the girls look beautiful in those dresses. I hadn’t heard the expression media naranja before – I must remember it 😉

    1. Fiona Flores Watson

      Thanks Craig – yes, it’s a good ‘un – I first heard that expression when my now-husband told me his mum had used it to describe us – that her son had found his media naranja (me)!!

  3. irenecros

    Fabulous photos. I agree with the comments above – it’s great to see that even today Spain continues with such traditions. Bravo Sevilla and thank you Scribbler for sharing. A good start to a dull day.

  4. irenecros

    Good morning Fiona.

    I loved your new post. Can I use one of your photos on my crossroads languages facebook page – with your name, of course ?

    Thank you.

    Irene

  5. mike

    It amazed us while walking through Santa Cruz the shops that are solely there for flamenco dresses…. the holy communion shops surprised us too … seeing the wee boys dressed up like admirals. was different in my day although kilts are de rigeur in Scotland now

    1. Fiona Flores Watson

      Hi Mike – flamenco dresses are big business in Seville – some women have one for each day of the Feria! Those communion outfits are creepy, with the girls in their big white pseudo-wedding dresses. I much prefer kilts, personally.

  6. over40andamumofone

    So pleased I found your blog, my parents live in Spain (halfway between Seville and Malaga) and they visited the Feria in Seville last year. I’ve been to Seville a few times over the last 8 years, lovely city.

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