Ah Andalucía, you had me at “hola”. Your late summer sun, your all-year colour and warmth, your traditions, your food and your ferias. Oh, yes las ferias. Throughout the year, this region of Spain, rich in culture, history and holidaymaking opportunities, celebrates a number of ferias. It’s a little tricky to translate feria accurately; the most literal translation is “fair”, but you only have to witness a feria in Andalucía to see that it means much more. Part-festival, part-carnival and huge part-party, it is more difficult for visitors to avoid the ferias of Andalucía than it is for you to stumble upon one.
Feria de Abril in Seville
The Feria de Abril in Seville kicks off a long summer of festivities in Andalucía. A large festival which takes over the Los Remedios area of Seville, expect to see women wearing flamenco frilled dresses, colourful decorations lining the streets and many fairground style attractions as well as rows and rows of “casetas” – special makeshift house-tents and marquees set up for socialising – though be aware that many are private and invitation only. This feria began not as a religious festival but because back in the 1840s two local businessmen decided the city of Seville deserved three days of fun and entertainment centred around a livestock meeting during which nearby residents gathered. Apparently, it took them quite a while to convince the mayor, but the fact that the feria grows each year should suggest that they were right to do so.
The Horse Fair in Jerez
credit: Dominic’s pics
Jerez’s Feria de Caballo is a highlight of the international equestrian calendar, but is still a spectacle to see for non-horsey types. Andalucía is fiercely proud of its history raising some of the world’s finest performing horses and this is the place to watch the famous caballo andaluz while also enjoying flamenco dancing and of course, tasting the “fino” sherry that the region is famous for.
Summer Feria in Malaga
At the end of August the people of Malaga face the heat head on and get their castanets out for a festival full of fireworks and flamenco dancing that lasts ten whole days. The celebrations mark the city being re-conquered by the Spanish back in 1487 and tourists are warmly encouraged to join in with dancing and celebrating along the city’s main street, Marques de Larios.
Summer Feria in Mijas
credit: Family in Spain
Moving away from the bigger cities and to the quaint and traditional town of Mijas, September sees locals celebrate their own feria. Incorporating many of the same elements – live music and dancing on the street, traditional dress and the streets being lit with lanterns – the feria at Mijas is one for photographers and those seeking a traditional Andalucian backdrop thanks to Pueblo Mijas’ reputation as “the white village of Andalucía” and also its proximity to some beautiful beaches.
Have you ever been to Andalucía during feria-season? What was your experience?
Featured image by jl. cernadas