Seville Feria – Feria de Abril
updated April 2023
Let’s face it, Spaniards like to party, and nobody parties with as much passion as an Andalusian. Now if that Andalusian is Sevillano, watch out! The Feria de Abril, or April Fair, is one of the most celebrated and iconic festivals in Spain, and the Seville feria is one that you just have to see once, twice or as many times as you can. This annual event is a week-long celebration that typically takes place two weeks after Semana Santa (Holy Week). That’s right, just after the religious celebrations come to an end the real partying begins. This is an event that attracts visitors from all over Spain and sometimes the world who come to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, fried foods, flowing beverages, and traditional music and dance. It is also Seville’s largest-grossing event of the year! What the city and its inhabitants (and visitors) invest in Feria is something else!
But where does this festival come from? It’s nice to get down and have a rebujito or cervicito as you dance the sevillanas but it’s always nice to know the roots of things to further enrich your cultural discovery. The history of the Seville Feria – Feria de Abril dates back to the 19th century when it was originally a livestock fair that was held in the Prado de San Sebastian, a large open area on the outskirts of Seville. It first began in 1847 and was introduced by Narciso Bonaplata, from Catalonia, and José María Ybarra, from the Basque Country. What started as a celebration of spring in the month of April evolved into a social gathering that celebrated Andalusian culture, and it eventually became the colorful, joyous celebration that we know today. What once was an April fair now falls either in April or in May depending on Easter.
One of the most distinctive features of the Feria de Abril is the Caseta, which is a type of tent that is set up by different groups and organizations throughout the fairgrounds. Each Caseta is decorated with colorful flags and streamers, and they often feature live music, dancing, and food and drink. It’s a great way to experience the festive spirit of the Feria de Abril and to get a taste of the local culture.
One thing that distinguishes Seville’s feria from many others in the neighboring provinces is that the majority of the casetas are privately owned. Associations own and operate the individual casetas and getting on the list of these associations is a life’s goal for some and not something you will just give away. Most of these memberships are handed from family member to family member but when you are in, you are in. If you are lucky (or you are not too shy to ask), you may have someone say to you, “I have a caseta, you should come.” By that, they mean that they are an associate of a caseta and you can come in as their guest. Casetas that are private often will have a bouncer at the door who checks if you are really supposed to be there. To thank your host, be sure to buy them a jar of rebujito as is the tradition. Check out how to enjoy the Seville feria like a local for the list of recommended public casetas you can try if you didn’t manage to get an invite.
Why the Seville Feria stands out
The Feria de Abril in Seville is perhaps the most famous Feria in Andalusia, but there are actually many other Ferias that take place throughout the country. It isn’t even the oldest Feria in Spain or the first of the year (even though many think it is) – that record goes to the Feria in Mairena del Alcor. One of the key differences between the Seville Feria and other Ferias is the focus on Andalusian culture and traditions. Many of the dances and songs that are performed during the Feria de Abril have their roots in the region’s rich history, and the traditional dress worn by many of the participants is a nod to the area’s past.
Additionally, what really sets Seville’s Feria apart from the competition is the sheer scale of the event. The Seville Feria is one of the largest and most elaborate celebrations in Spain, with thousands of people attending each day. The fairgrounds cover a large area, and there are hundreds of Casetas to explore, each with its own unique atmosphere and offerings.
The Feria de Abril is a wonderful celebration of Andalusian culture and a must-visit destination for anyone who loves music, dance, food, and fun. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Feria-goer, the energy and excitement of this unique event are sure to captivate you and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
If you want some tips on how to survive and enjoy Feria like you mean it, be sure to check our How to enjoy the Seville feria like a local post for tips on making your way around the fair and enjoying it too!
For more information on the Feria de Abril dates, check here.
Dive deeper into Spanish culture with a food and wine experience with Let’s Eat The World’s Week in Seville a culinary holiday in Seville, Spain