As they say, “Sevilla has a special colour..”, and after learning about the famous Feria de Abril, you’ll see why.
Celebrated every year in the Andalusian capital of Spain, Seville, the April Fair is one of the grandest and most vibrant festivals in the country. Lasting a week every year in April, the streets of Seville come alive. From May 1st to May 7th, the city is synonymous with music, excellent gastronomy, dancing and the Sevillian passion for celebrating life and tradition.
The fair generally begins two weeks after Easter, and officially begins at midnight on Saturday, running for seven days and ends on the following Saturday.
The atmosphere can be best described as an overflow of colour, music and the joy of the Feria de Abril. Conceived as a tribute to the arrival of spring, similar festivals take place all over the country during the first days of the season. Still, Seville is the king of them all.
The Fair’s Origen
The origins of the April Fair date back to 1846, when councillors José María Ibarra and Narciso Bonaplata had the idea of holding an annual three-day fair, which would take place in the month of April and have a mercantile character for the buying and selling of livestock.
After Queen Isabella II granted approval, the first Fair was inaugurated on 18th April 1847 in the Prado de San Sebastián. Around 25,000 visitors attended.
Over the years, the fair became one of the most important celebrations in the city and changed its mercantile character for that of a social festival. Only interrupted for two years during the Civil War, in 1973 it was necessary to move it to its current location due to the high number of visitors.
Today, the grounds of the fairgrounds occupy 1,200,000 m2 and are divided into three different areas: Calle del Infierno, El Real de la Feria and the car parks. The Real is divided into fifteen streets named after important bullfighting figures.
On the back of the signs, there is a legend summarising the bullfighter’s biography. The Calle del Infierno (Hell Street) is usually bustling as it features amusement park attractions.
Traditions of the Feria de Abril
At the flick of a switch, more than 22,000 bulbs bathe the Seville fairgrounds in light. On this first night of Seville’s Feria de Abril, the Alumbrao, the bright lights that adorn the grounds and the gigantic façade – redesigned and built anew each year – are unveiled, marking the beginning of a week of dancing, music, and revelling in Seville’s festive culture. It also marks the start of the best bullfights of the season, so be sure to bring your white scarf and follow the Sevillians to the Maestranza bullring.
Walk through the massive gateway to the festival world of the Feria de Abril, and you’ll see over a thousand striped casetas (a kind of marquee) lining both sides of the streets. These casetas are an intrinsic part of the feria tradition and give the celebration its particular colour.
Casetas from the Feria de Sevilla
Run by groups of friends, families, organisations and political parties, they act as small houses, intimately decorated by their owners, and equipped with a kitchen, a bar, tables and chairs for enjoying delicious tapas and wines.
The joyful songs heard in every caseta during the Feria de Abril in Seville are sevillanas, four-part songs with four accompanying dance parts, which Sevillians learn as they begin to walk. The colourful faralaes dresses worn by women, the men on horseback dressed in traditional ranching garb, and groups alighting from horse-drawn carriages complete the atmosphere with a unique air of tradition that the joyful Sevillians are proud to display.
Rather than winding down towards the end of the festival, the Feria de Abril concludes with a bang, with an eye-catching fireworks display in the Seville air.
Where to Stay in Seville During the Feria
We recommend renting a flat during your trip to the Feria as it offers many advantages, including the freedom to enjoy the fair as well as being able to stay in a comfortable flat equipped with everything you need to make you feel as if you were at home.
Since Seville is a city that receives many visitors, you will have no problem in finding accommodation according to your needs due to the wide range of flats in the city, come and enjoy the authentic and special colour of the Andalusian city.
There’s also accommodation set up for tourists that wish to come and enjoy the festival. There’s a block of flats is located on the Avenida de la Constitución and is decorated like the streets of the Real, so that tourists can experience the Sevillian fiesta without even leaving the centre.
The casetas of the Feria will soon become homes for the Sevillians, but for those who want to visit the festivities from outside, this option is perfect.