It's only been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a blog post but sooo much has been happening since Semana Santa so I thought that now would be a good time to update you all on my most recent adventures in Spain.
Some of you who have been following my blog since I started it two and a half years ago might remember that April is a very special and exciting month for the people in Spain. It most certainly is in Sevilla and this is because of the religious events that take place during the Holy Week (read my previous blog post for more information about this) and also La Feria de Abril which happens two weeks later. These are two weeks that are very different from one another but for a foreign person living in Spain they are both equally as interesting and impressive in different ways. As it is my second April in Sevilla, this year it was my second time experiencing Semana Santa and La Feria. However, they were no less amazing than they were the first time! In fact, because I knew what to expect this time I think I took in what was happening more than I did before and therefore have come out of them feeling like I fully understand their history and cultural meaning. So having now had a fair bit of experience of both of these events, I am going to tell you about my second Feria experience and also give you a bit of background information as to what it is about.
The Seville fair is a huge event that is held in the neighborhood of Los Remedios in Sevilla. It dates back to 1847 when it started as a livestock fair. However, over the years it has developed and changed and now covers an enormous area of land and attracts a huge number of people every year. Until this year it went on for seven days two weeks after Semana Santa. However, this year it was extended to take place over a seven day period. La Feria began this year on Saturday 29th April at midnight when the gate was lit up and musical performances took place to celebrate its opening. Then, each day would begin with a parade of horses and carriages riding through the rows of Casetas (individual marquees which are decorated for the Fair). People would then arrive dressed in traditional flamenco clothes and enjoy the afternoon and evening dancing Sevillanas, socializing with family and friends, eating tapas, and drinking Sherry, Manzanilla, and Rebujitos.
This year I went almost every day either for the daytime or the night time as I wanted to really make the most of the event as I don't know for sure yet if I will be staying in Sevilla after June. I therefore went with different groups of friends every day either to private Casetas or public ones. I am lucky to have experienced la Feria in private Casetas as they are the Casetas that you can only get into by invitation and therefore have to know people who either own them, belong to a club or group in the city, or have friends who own them. As I know quite a lot of people here I went into some of these Casetas and it really was an unforgettable experience. It was so lovely sitting in the beautifully decorated rooms, eating a variety of different food, and learning to dance Sevillanas (a traditional dance that is danced at the Feria), and also meeting lots of new people. It was lovely to get to have this experience again but it was also interesting because I discovered that every day was different! I thoroughly enjoyed it all and am kind of sad it's over now although I definitely need a quiet week now to recover from the lack of sleep and constant excitement!
Those of you who have me on facebook will have seen all of the pictures that I posted last week. However, I will try to add some to the blog as the whole place looked so beautiful with the colorful horses, Casetas, and flamenco dresses. I wore a couple of different Flamenco dresses throughout the week which was a really lovely experience because it made me really feel a part of the event and experience every aspect of the traditions!
So all in all, last week really was incredible and definitely a time when I made some really precious memories with amazing people. I was at work for a couple of days but had the rest of the week off so it was very much like a holiday really. In fact, last Wednesday I invigilated an exam at school for the first time which was another new experience to have had so it was an exciting week all round!
If I'm in Sevilla next year I will definitely go back to the Feria as I've come to really love it as it is something so cultural and individual to Spain and a week in which I have, both times, had wonderful experiences and spent time with really lovely people. The things that I love the most about travelling are meeting new people and having experiences that are completely new and different from experiences that I have in the UK and la Feria is most definitely one of those experiences. After all, its not every day that I get to wear beautiful Flamenco dresses and dance Sevillanas! :)
I think I've told you most things about the Feria now so I'm going to round off this post here. I don't have much time left in Sevilla now so I will probably write my next post just before I go home in June. However, the adventures will not end there as I have a month long trip around Scandinavia and Russia coming up in July so I will be writing blog posts then too! But for now, hasta luego! And thank you for reading my post! I'll be back with more in a few weeks time!