|Seville Spring Fair|
From May 3, 2011 to May 8, 2011 Seville is an extraordinarily beautiful and interesting city.
Seville, Spain's fourth largest city and Andalucia's capital, is the most coquetish of the three grand cities of the south. Say's an old Spanish refrain," Quien no ha visto Sevilla, no ha visto maravilla." ( He who has not seen Seville, has not seen wonderment.)George Borrow, author of 'The Bible in Spain', considered it "the most interesting town in all Spain (beneath) the most glorious heaven..." Add to the general beauty of Seville, the Andalucian gypsy charms of the charismatic Sevillianos and you have arecipe for a fabulous event.And it is every year. La Feria de Abril takes place at the end of April or early May. Every spring, the town of Seville throws a week-long party for over a million people! La Feria de Sevilla originally began as a cattle trading fair in 1847, The origins of the Fair of April go back to 1846, year in which Narciso Bonaplata and Jose Maria de Ybarra signed a proposal requesting authorization to celebrate an annual fair.
and throughout the years it has evolved into an amazing round-the-clock spectacle of all that is Spanish. Seville is considered the centre of flamenco music and culture, also known as "Sevillana" because many of the composers and songs come from this Andalucian city.Seville Gastronomy
In Seville´s unique, traditional tapas you will find a magnificent, thoughtful example of the city´s gastronomy.
Seville and tapas go hand in hand - a different way to eat, going from one bar to the next. The small size of these dishes means that you can sample a host of different flavours.
The origin of the "tapa" (cover) goes back to the old custom of covering a glass of wine with a slice of cured meat or ham. From then until now, tapas have become a point of reference in Seville´s gastronomy.
There is an endless array of tapas available ? each catering professional in Seville adds his/her own imagination and creativity; tapas culture goes from small plates of stews, hot dishes and fried food, through to the lightest, cold tapas, pickles and cured meats. Some tapas we could mention are kidneys with sherry, battered prawns, shrimp omelettes, marinated, battered cod, pickles, spinach, fried blood with tomato or onion, snails, comber fish? the list goes on and on, not forgetting all the different Seville olives, in all their pickled and dressed varieties: "gordales"; "manzanillas"; "machacadas" (half-crushed variety)...
Tapas and the art of going out for tapas are now widely known and can be found throughout most of Spain and even in some places overseas.The Sevillana is a folkloric song, a flamenco-ised version of the La Mancha seguidilla.
It is danced in couples, in series of 4 sevillanas. The music has three tempos and it is rhythmic and joyful. The dance is divided into 4 clearly differentiated parts, representing different stages of the man´s courtship of the woman, finishing with an arrogant gesture by the couple.
It was once danced in patios or neighbours´ shared courtyards, also known as corrales. Nevertheless, it has always been danced on pilgrimages and at fairs.
It is one of the most difficult dances because it requires complicated coordination of feet, arms and hands, as well as a very specific style.
The steps to dance in each of the 4 parts of Sevillanas are always the same, but a range of variations can be introduced and there are various ways to dance them apart from the traditional boy with girl format, thus enriching the dance: dancing as a group, in line, in couples (crossing and interchanging partners), with three dancers (two girls with one boy, for example), etc.Inferno Street-all the fun of the fair
A DAY AT THE FAIR
MORNING, AFTERNOON, EVENING AND NIGHT You can enjoy the Seville Fair almost 24 hours a day. One day you should try it!
The timetable for the morning involves getting to "El Real" (the site of the fair) at around 1.30pm, and staying "as long as you can keep going" (This means you can enjoy all the colour of the fair by day and the beginning of the night). Ideal for families, horse-lovers and tourists. Evening fair
Aim to get there at 7pm. This timetable will suit you if you are tired from the day before. A little siesta after lunch and, once refreshed, head for the fair. Try not to finish too late, because the next day there is more.
Ideal for young people. It gets started at 9pm, coinciding with the end of the bullfights, and means you can have dinner at El Real or in the surrounding area, and enjoy the fun into the early hours. VocabularyAlbero: albero is the yellow clay that covers the walkways of the Fair Ground and, very quickly, the shoes of fair-goers.
Cacharritos: attractions at the April Fair in Seville Caseta: stall/tent at the fair.
Duende: the special spirit that vibrates through the art of flamenco
Faralá: loose flounce that adorns women´s dresses at the back.
Fino: white wine from Jerez. Drunk cold, it is one of the primordial elements of the April Fair´s mare nostrum.
Manzanilla: aromatic, dry white wine, produced in Andalusia.
Peineta: convex comb used by women as an adornment or to secure the hair.
Rebujito: a refreshing cocktail with low alcohol content. Served in a jug with 1/3 manzanilla, 2/3 Seven Up and plenty of ice. Some people add fresh mint
Sevillanas: a type of flamenco dance specifically from Andalusia, an adaptation of the traditional Castilian seguidilla.
Catavinos: a glass, or, when the volume of people makes it unavoidable, a plastic cup, just the right size for an appropriate serving of manzanilla or fino.
Farolillo: green, white or red paper sphere covering the light bulbs in the streets of the Fair and inside the tents.
Traje corto: traditional suit for men, used mainly by those on horseback, although it also frequently used by “amazonas” (women on horseback).
Traje de flamenca o de gitana (flamenco or gipsy dress): traditional dress worn by Seville women of all shapes and ages with considerable style when they go to the fair. It is only known as traje de faralaes if drawing attention to the fact that they are from elsewhere.
Papa: a personal situation arising when the limit of manzanilla, fino, or other liquids required to maintain the ideal level of “merriness” is passed. Continued repetitions of the “papa” turns the exhibitor into a Fair drunk.
Hundreds of carriages in the parades.Hire a carriage and enjoy the ride. What to wear
Attire for the fair depends on whether it is by day or by night. For the daytime, women can go wearing the typical traje de flamenca (flamenco dress), or, if on horseback, the traje de “amazonas” (women riders). Men should wear suits. Beige is recommended for the morning, and always with a short jacket. A tie should always be worn, of course. If you want to add a touch of coquetry, a carnation can be worn on the lapel. A broad-rimmed hat can also be worn.
If they go on horseback, men wear the traditional traje corto (short suit), characterised by its short jacket and white shirt, broad-rimmed hat, and trousers with caireles, hanging silver adornments.
Every morning, Sevilla awakens in a flurry of activity, like a child shaking off a nightmare. The bells of La Giralda herald the beginning of a new day and the start of mass. In a couple of hours, the morning’s hangovers will be forgotten, as fresh ones are initiated. The spires tower over her subjects, who move, ant like, through the city streets.
Two, dark haired girls, their heads still covered by black lace mantillas, leave the cathedral. They grip their missals and trot toward the bus stop. A long whistle causes them to lower their heads, blushing.
Ah, Sevilla! Ah, Sevilla at feria time. The most Spanish of all Spanish cities, and the most beautiful of all Spanish ferias. A marriage, made in taurine heaven. Corridas de toros in La Maestranza are held at the hour in which Sevilla’s dual personalities meld in the stands. Before long, those who purchased sunny side tickets will also enjoy the relief of shade. Day and night embrace. Church bells segway to falsetto requiems.
Sevilla uniquely empathizes with the burning desire of toreros. A real taurinos’ town, a city whose arteries pulsate in a tortured rhythm that is akin to a heartbeat. Even the honking of taxi horns seem to sound in concert, as if orchestrated by the towers of Cathedral La Giralda.
Hair tied back
Necklace (usually worn by children)
Shawl and safety pin
Dress with flounces
To be avoided:
Hair on the face
Tying the shawl around the waist
Carrying a handbag
So called ´traje de faralaes´, drawing attention to the fact that the wearer is not local
“Zahones” or “Polainas” (worn over the breeches)
To be avoided:
Dressing up if you do not go on horseback
Not wearing a jacket
Wearing “other” kinds of hat
Wearing “polainas” with “zahones” at the same time
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Party all night in the brightly and colourfully decorated streets, fair ground and casetas. Feria festivities take place in a temporary tent city, on the far side of the Rio Guadalquivir, called the Real de la Feria. This rectangular piece of land is about a mile long and 700 yards wide. The tents, called casetas, are made of brightly-coloured canvas and decorated with thousands of paper lanterns. While this set-up was originally created for the cattle market, today the casetas are impromptu dance halls and every night you'll find flamenco music and dancing from around 9pm to 6 or 7 the following morning. The women all wear spectacularly bright Gypsy-inspired flamenco dresses, and everyone--young and old -- will throw back a glass or two of sherry and get on the dance floor.
The casetas are hosted by groups of aristocratic Sevillana families, clubs, trade unions and political parties. Each one of the tents has it’s own atmosphere and tradition. Some are invitation-only affairs, while others are "free" and have bars open to the public. So just wander around and find the vibe that works for you.One of the most notorious and fun casetas is "Er 77," where wine is drawn from a well and poured from buckets, and beds are offered in the back to sleep it off! Another famous tent is "Los Duendes de Sevilla" (The Goblins of Seville) which is named after a painting by Alvarez Quintero. You can also expect a lively time at the casetas erected by Seville's many left wing and anarchist groupsWhile you will probably spend most of the night stamping and clapping in the casetas, keep in mind that La Feria has a full program of events during the daytime. You'll want to check out the daily parades of horses and decorated carriages that wind their way through the city and fairground. This equestrian display is accompanied by strolling singers who play traditional Sevillana ballads on their guitars. Many participants in these parades are members of Seville's aristocracy, and they are exquisitely dressed in the unique wide-brimmed "bolero" hats and short-cropped jackets that are closely associated with Andalusia.In the afternoons, you can catch a glimpse of another Spanish staple--the bullfight. La Feria attracts top-notch matadors from all over Spain and the bullfights at La Feria are considered to be the best of the season. The action takes place at 5:30pm every afternoon in the imposing Plaza de Toros de Maestranza, which is known to locals as "the Cathedral" and is considered one of the most beautiful bullrings in the country. Tickets can be purchased at the bullring, and while they can be quite expensive.
Tourist Office: Paseo de las Delicias, 9 - 41012 Seville (Seville)
Tel. +34 954234465 What to EatThe most typical food at the April Fair is fried fish with a glass of manzanilla or fino sherry, not forgetting tapas and other typical dishes such as paella.
It is fundamental to eat well at the Fair for three reasons: So as not to miss out on the exquisite tapas, because it is vital to rest and recover your strength in order to keep dancing from one tent to the next, and because the stomach should be prepared to hold out through the fiesta, avoiding getting too far gone. You'll find the atmosphere at La Feria typically Andalusian--relaxed yet intense. Sevillians are very outgoing and it will be easy to strike up conversations and make new friends.
It’s nearly midnight, yet the streets are filled with people. Lanterns hang gaily from tree branches. Vendors of balloons and cotton candy are everywhere. The pungent aromas of sherry, beer, saffron, and frying meats waft from every cafe. Families parade in their finest traditional clothes displaying their pride of the city and their love of Seville Spring Fair. Restaurants create their finest dishes and all the seats and tables are full. Enjoy their wonderful drinks, tapas and dishes of exotically prepared meals. Tall glasses of La Ina sherry, perspiring bottles of cold beer, try the Terry or Fundador brandy, and baskets of fried squid rings, to those who occupy impossibly tiny tables.
See the riders in their traditional outfits traje corto, the apparel of the gentleman rancher. Short, bolero type jacket; vest; high waisted, form fitting pants; riding boots of the finest leather; and the ever-present symbol of Andalucia, the flat crowned Cordobés hat.
Enjoy the manic strumming sounds of flamenco guitars, accompanied by raspy gypsy voices and sharp castanets, fill the air. They sing of love and death, as if one were a portent to the other. Their songs are passionate, sobbing, pleading, and joking as they relate stories of womanizing, bullfighting, and unrequited love. Joyfully, mournfully and tearfully, they sing their tales of happy remorse.
Sevilla is always a special place. But, at spring feria time, her Moorish heart fills the spirit, infecting those who have yet to be intimate with her, but are destined to be so. Sevilla demands it. At feria time, every visitor is a Spaniard. Every Spaniard is a Sevillano. Every Sevillano is a gypsy. Every gypsy is a flamenco. Every flamenco is a lover. And, all are toreros.
Each Spanish city’s annual fair is unique, but Sevilla’s spring fair is the most joyful and elegant. It’s a celebration of the very soul of Andalucia, a feria of long, black hair, calico combs, delicate lace mantillas, boots, castanets, flamencos, and proud, noble-blooded horses.
It’s a delightfully schizophrenic feria, with one personality for the daytime and another that is born after the sun sets. The mornings are as regal as a minuet in the king’s palace. The noble horsemen and demure señoritas greet friends and neighbors formally and with a degree of restrained enthusiasm.
But, the gypsies own the nights. Almost as jesters, employed to entertain the royal family, they moan and cry, plead and laugh. The colour of the city changes from monarch red to gypsy green, and the feria becomes passionate, even slightly rowdy.
At all other times in Spain, a whore is accepted as one of life’s necessary evils. Even the church forgives, without openly condoning, as long as she attends mass and confession, and she’s generous when the collection basket comes her way.
But, in Sevilla, at feria time, that same whore becomes the subject of song and legend. She’s cast in a mysterious, foreboding, compassionate role. Her pulse beats in cadence to metal tipped heels on dusty floors, and callused fingertips on vibrating strings. By the light of day, she’ll be just another puta. But, after sunset, she’s a tragic, romantic lady, whose heart harbors dark secrets and intensely personal pain, as poet Garcia Lorca labeled it, “a tear, falling from a rose.” It’s good to be a whore in Sevilla at feria time. The money is excellent.
Sevilla is always patient with visitors. She allows them to observe and enjoy, even take photos and videos. Yet, like the mysterious whore, she remains tantalizingly aloof, rarely allowing more than just a brief, delicious peek at her superstitious heart.
The common denominator of Sevilla’s feria dichotomy is Plaza de la Real Maestranza. On the outside, she is nondescript. Those unfamiliar with her might walk by, without even realizing that, just beyond the walls, the magnificent plaza’s Moorish arches quietly invite men and bulls to prove their worth, while the aficionados quickly condemn anything that is less than courageous and honorable. Failure to achieve is acceptable, but failure to invest total integrity is intolerable.
A triumph in La Maestranza is special, something that can translate to many contracts. But, rejection is reason for suicide. Careers can be established or destroyed, in just one afternoon.
Tourist Office: Paseo de las Delicias, 9 - 41012 Seville (Seville)
Tel. +34 954234465 Tourist Office:
Avenida de la Constitución, 21 B - 41001 Seville (Seville)
Tel. +34 954787578