Well, Semana Santa is over, but the memories of a truly one-of-a-kind experience will remain forever. Never have I experienced something of such tradition with people as passionate as the Spanish. Standing on a dark street at 4am with no light but glimmering candles illuminating the path for hundreds of robed men as they carried massive gold-drenched structures of bible scenes, just as they’ve done for hundreds of years, among crowds of proud Spaniards cheering loudly over processional drum beats… it was certainly one of those moments that will never escape me.
One would think that after an event-filled week, the Sevillians would be looking forward to a little R & R. Well, you are correct. However, rest and relaxation in Spain is much different than the standard definition! It’s SPAIN, after all… land of the perpetual celebration of life! So as the sun sets on Semana Santa, a new light shines upon the next big regional tradition: Feria de Abril.
For as much as Semana Santa is a religious festival, Feria is not!! Semi-similar to what the U.S. recognizes as a state or county fair, leave it up to the Spaniards to take it to the next level! Kicking off on April 20 (officially; April 17, unofficially… they just can’t wait to get started!) hundreds of casetas (tents) are set up for one week’s worth of ’round the clock tapas eating; sherry, wine and beer drinking; Sevillanas dancing, game playing; attraction riding; traditional flamenco costume wearing; bull fighting; friendly socializing and all around merry-making good times.
Here in Andalusia, THIS is how rest and relaxation is done, and no one does it bigger or better than Seville. I’m not sure how the rest part works out considering the party never stops, but Feria surely relaxes you. Whether it’s the influx of sedating refreshments or the fact that you may find yourself given the day off of work to enjoy the festivities is yet to be determined, but you certainly won’t find any complaints here in the meantime :)
Stay tuned for more fun Feria facts and folk tales as we lead up to the main event!
[Procession - El Abuelo photo provided by Lindsey Ashjian]
[Traditional costumes photo provided by Wikimedia Commons]
[Feria Treats & Trinkets photos provided by clspeace]