The Feria de Sevilla, Spain’s best spring fair

The Feria de Sevilla is one of Spain’s most emblematic festivals. After the dark Holy Week procesiones have finished, Sevillanos work day and night for two weeks to ensure that everything is ready for the Feria de Abril…

And when Sevillanos – especially feriantes, wish to accomplish something, they truly invest into it. They are the most meticulous and aesthetic people I’ve ever met. The results amaze me year after year and I’ve lived here for quite a long time…

I am sure that you will be as surprised as I was when I first went to the Feria a few years ago. The spectacle is so sublime and so intense that you will be almost overwhelmed. Take your camera with you, it’s a fantastic opportunity to capture incredible postcards.


Feria de Sevilla calendar

Saturday: Members’ meeting at the casetas and inauguration of the Feria de Sevilla with a dinner called el Pescaíto (slang for “small fish”).

Sunday: At midnight the Major turns on the lighting, including the entrance arch known as la Portada and thousands of colorful farolillos (paper lanterns) as well. This ceremony is called el Alumbrado.

Monday: Usually the number of people attending increases significantly. The lights are on until 3:00.

Tuesday: Most lunches and dinners are organized this day for friends, coworkers and businesses. The lights are turned off at 4:00.

Wednesday: It’s the main day of the Feria de Sevilla.   You can also see a lot more horses and carriages. The Feria is lit up until 5:00.

Thursday: As the weekend arrives, the number of visitors rises and you’ll have the chance to see a lot of celebrities, toreros, members of the nobility and politicians. The crowd can reach up to a million people.

Friday: It’s generally the second most popular day. The lighting is on until 6:00.

Saturday: The last day of the Feria is mainly devoted to bullfights. La Maestranza bullring hosts a corrida with the Miura stock breeding, famous for their enormous size. At midnight the Feria de Sevilla holds the closing ceremony with lots of fireworks next to the Guadalquivir river.


The paseo de caballos

The carriages are the only vehicles allowed inside the fairground (except for ambulances and police cars). This tradition dates back from the 1850s when people used to arrive and return from the Feria de Sevilla – a livestock fair then, to deal with breeders that used their own carriage.

Fortunately, this custom remains and you’ll have the chance to see the most beautiful horse carriages in Spain as there is rivalry between their owners on this. Don’t miss the carriages themselves as well as the horses’ ornaments and the costumes of the drivers and passengers. Everyone is dressed with the traditional gala clothing and it’s absolutely spectacular.


Some curiosities

Despite being a traditional party, the Seville Fair has some very strict rules that apply during the whole week of celebrations.

Horses and carriages are, therefore, only allowed to parade from 12:00 until 20:00.

Each caseta must have its curtains pulled back from noon till 20:00 and also while the lighting is turned on. After that, once it gets dark, everyone is supposed to be inside the caseta, curtains closed, spending their time eating tapas, drinking and dancing sevillanas!

If you had enough time to count all the bulbs used at the Portada, the farolillos and the rest of the fairground you would come up with a figure of approximately 350,000 units! The Portada itself has around 22,000 bulbs.

The Portada is different every year. The City Council holds a contest to choose the best project. Each one is either based on a particular topic or commemorates an important event related to Seville.

The Recinto turns during a whole week into a city within the city – the casetas each have an official location and roads have a name so that people don’t get lost. One of the most famous streets is the Calle del Infierno (Hell’s Road) which is actually an area where an amusement park is set up. As you can imagine, the area is generally full of children and you can enjoy a ride on the big wheel.


Moreover you can discover what really happens at the Seville Fair and inside the casetas.

And if you want to experience the Feria on your own have a look at my tips, as well as a helpful glossary.