The Fiesta To End All Fiestas

Guys.

Can I admit something really fast?

I actually enjoyed Feria more than Semana Santa.

*Waits for lightning*

Really though. I loved the solemnity and religious aspect of Semana Santa because it was so different from religious celebrations at home and Easter is one of my favourite holidays.

But I loved Feria simply because I loved Feria.

Please imagine the party atmosphere of New Year’s Eve added to the alcohol use and fireworks of Fourth of July, the family gathering aspect of Christmas, the non-stop dancing of senior prom (albeit a bit more orchestrated), then add huge dresses and flowers on the top of women’s heads and men in suits. Please imagine this all happening in one part of one neighbourhood in one city.

Please imagine this all happening for a week, from noon-7am every day.

Now you have the general idea of Feria.

OPENING NIGHT:

The lighting of the “Portada” or the giant ornate archway leading into Feria (there’s actually a million ways to get into Feria but if you don’t use this one at least once, go home. You’re a disgrace).

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Pre-lighting. I was very fortunate (unfortunate) to be in an apartment a block away from the portada. This meant that making it to Feria despite the crowds was not that big of a struggle. It also meant that sleeping was impossible.

 

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Post-lighting. Isn’t it pretty?

There was no official countdown (nothing like New Year’s Eve) so we were all anxiously waiting with phones/cameras in hand because it lit up about two seconds after midnight with no warning or fanfare.11182839_908821912508412_1691421085_o

 

Re: Feria wardrobe

Guys are expected to be in full suits, and failing that, at least in presentable pants and a jacket. E.g. do not show up in shorts and a tshirt.

Girls wear the “traje de flamenco” or like the men, get dressed to the nines. I wore the dress one full afternoon/evening out, went back out one morning to pretend like I fit in while I wandered, and then gave up and just wore nice dresses.

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Excuse Casey and I squinting. We wore our dresses on THE hottest day of the week. Of course. My dress and flower was a hand-me-down (at a super reasonable price) from CIEE and the shawl a gift from a friend. It’s a bit of an older style but I liked it as it was lighter in weight than more modern dresses i.e. not as stifling hot, though still uncomfortable.

Traditional eating at Feria:

Rebujito literally means a mixed drink. This traditional Feria drink consists of Manzanilla and some sort of lemon/lime soda (Fanta, 7-UP, and Sprite are all popular choices). It is beyond refreshing but also very easy to down a lot of before you realise that you’ve really consumed way more alcohol than planned. Thus, as the evening goes on, the people get drunker and the party merrier. It’s all part of the fun.

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Buñuelos are little fried balls of dough topped with any sort of sauce/icing-like substances. I got mine with white chocolate and they were to die for. Churros are also a good choice and pop-up chocolaterias abounded in Los Remedios.

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Feria is a giant fairground basically consisting of two parts. The traditional part that pretty much everyone stays in and the attractions part with rides, ferris wheels, etc. that only families with kids and tourists go to pretty much.

(sorry for the huge disparity in quality of the rest of these photos. I was enjoying feria and kind of forgot that I might want to blog about it).

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Outside of a caseta along the very edge of Feria
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Inside of the caseta. DRAMA TIME: The lady in red looking at the guy bottom left of the photo very obviously did not know the guy but started flirting with him about five minutes after we got there. By the time we left a few hours later, they were kissing in a corner. #feria

Casetas are private or public. The public ones are crowded, overwhelmingly noisy, hot, and dirty. I went into one for about an hour and wanted to die.

I was fortunate that one of the days I went, I was with Spanish friends whose family belonged to a private caseta. Spaces in these casetas have waiting lists and are reserved for a few hundred euros a year.

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Thank you Maria! We even scored seats next to a giant fan.

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Feria during the day is fun and it’s nice to walk around and get the lay of the land, like the many carriages and men traveling by horse throughout the neighborhood.

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But it really comes alive at sundown and is just gorgeous and a feast for the eyes:

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And at the end of it all, fireworks. I was really glad I went out for this because

1. Churros one last night

2. I won’t be home for 4th of July so I was surprisingly really happy to see fireworks somehow this semester

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I fully hope to be in Sevilla for Feria again in the future.

But until then, adios #Feria2015. Thanks for the party.

 

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