The spring is coming, so is the feria season. We are slowly saying goodbye to the cold days, and what’s a better way of welcoming longer and sunnier ones than with a celebration? And which country is the master of celebrations? Spain, of course!
Therefore, we made a list of the 3 Spanish ferias upcoming in the next 3 months that you should not miss if you want to welcome spring in the way it deserves to be welcomed! Say BIENVENIDOS to sunny days!
Table of Contents
- Las Fallas
- Feria de Abril
- Feria de Jerez – Feria del Caballo
Las Fallas festival is one of the most popular events in Spain. It attracts many tourists every year because of how big and unique it is. If you have ever searched for events, festivals or ferias in Spain, you have most likely heard of Las Fallas de Valencia. Its popularity is not without credit, even UNESCO has inscribed it in one of the lists of Intangible Cultural Heritages.
What is Las Fallas?
So, what is las Fallas de Valencia? Is it a festival, a feria, a celebration? It’s a little bit of all. Las Fallas is a festival, a group of events that takes place in Valencia, throughout the whole city. The main event involves making big sculptures and puppets, which are later to be burnt down.
Las Fallas is divided into many events, but you should expect fireworks, traditional clothes, a lot of music, a carnival-like atmosphere, a lot of food and drinks, and big beautiful puppets that you will see burn.
The puppets, called ninots in Valencian, are made from paper mache, carton, polystyrene, and other flammable materials. They are very realistic, colorful and can be tall up to 30 meters. The installations and puppets represent some satiric situations in the light of actual events in politics, the world, media, etc. They are somewhat of a critic of what is happening in the world.
Where is Las Fallas celebrated?
Las Fallas is celebrated in the city of Valencia, but in the last decade, it spread to other cities and villages in the Valencian community. There are also celebrations in some parts of Alicante, Castellon, Getafe, Ciudad Real, Mancha Real, Mallorca, etc.
In Valencia, the celebration is divided into routes and zones that cover most of the city.
What is the origin of Las Fallas?
The origin of Las Fallas is thought to be when the day of Saint Joseph was proclaimed to be 19th of March. That day, the carpenters would make small bonfires outside their shops consisting of something like sawdust and pieces of wood, alongside a lit candle. This represented all the workdays during winter that they have passed in the darkness with a candle supported by wood dust. This was as a welcome to spring and longer days that would give the carpenters longer working hours.
The tradition then took a turn when somebody put clothes on this wooden bonfire, making it look like a person. This is where the bonfires became ninots. It is believed that the ninots represented rich, higher class persons or politicians. The tradition of critical approach towards the ongoing subjects is still respected.
When is Las Fallas de Valencia?
Every year from 15th to 19th of March Valencia becomes home to the Las Fallas festival. This popular Valencian festival starts as early as the last Sunday of February, and by the 1st of March, the city has already prepared for the upcoming las Fallas.
The night between 15th and 16th of March is known as la plantá and that is when the bonfire puppets are erected to stand tall. The 19th of March, or on the day of Saint John (San José), is known es la cremá, and that is when the statues are burnt down.
Every day, starting from the 1st of March, in the Town Hall of Valencia square (plaza del Ayuntamiento de Valencia), a pyrotechnic spectacle is happening. This is called la mesclatá.
Why is Las Fallas de Valencia celebrated?
The celebration of Las Fallas focuses on the coming of spring, but also on the day of Saint Joseph (día de San José). Saint Joseph, the patron of carpenters, is celebrated today in a similar way it is thought the carpenters celebrated it centuries ago.
For the coming of spring, the city is decorated with flowers, petals, and colorful ornaments. For honoring the focus of las Fallas, which is the fire and the burning of puppets, one of the biggest symbols are firecrackers.
Las Fallas 2020
This year, las Fallas week starts Sunday 15th of March and ends Thursday the 19th of March.
The ceremony already began on the first of March, and there will be events until the 19th of March. This is the most popular touristic attraction in Valencia, and there are thousands of tourists every year. The city’s population almost doubles in this period. For more information on this year’s las Fallas, consult some of the local schedules online.
Feria de Abril
The most popular feria in Spain is probably Feria de Abril. Whenever someone mentions a feria, this is everybody’s first association. It is also one of the most popular events in Andalusia, and one of the Andalusian symbols.
What is Feria de Abril?
Feria de Abril in Spain (April’s feria) also known as Feria de Sevilla is an annual fair and festival made to celebrate spring. This huge celebration is proclaimed a Fiesta of International tourist interest in Spain, as it gathers thousands of hundreds of tourists every year. Feria de Abril makes a magical time to stay in Andalusia, so if you are not coming to Andalusia for the sea, you might want to come in the time of Feria de Abril.
Where is Feria de Abril celebrated?
Feria de Abril is celebrated in the city of Sevilla, Andalusia. It is held in a ferial area that has 3 parts – El Real de feria, La calle del Infierno and parking. El Real de feria is the main place of the event. It has 15 streets where all the music, food and drink are. La calle del Infierno (the Street of hell) is the place where the amusement park is.
How did Feria de Abril originate?
La feria de Abril in Sevilla started as an agricultural trading fair in 1847. The first fair was held at Prado de San Sebastian. How the time passed, and the city grew, the fair became one of the most visited events in Sevilla, and thus gain a social character and not an agricultural one.
Since 1847, Feria de Sevilla is held every year, with the exception of two years during the civil war. Since then, because of the number of visitors coming to the fair, the feria was moved to a bigger place, which was specially made for it.
When is Feria de Abril?
The biggest Andalusian fiesta, Feria de Abril, starts about 2 weeks after the Semana Santa, which is normally around the end of April and lasts until the beginnings of May. The date is not fixed because it depends on the full moon and Easter date.
Why is Feria de Abril celebrated?
Feria de Abril is celebrated to commemorate the begging of spring. What started as a trading fair is now the most famous annual spring festival in Spain.
Casetas are one of the biggest symbols of ferias. They are something like open rooms, tents, decorated by the person who “owns it”, they are offering food, drinks, and music. The important thing to know about casetas is that they are mostly private, and they require an invitation. Families or different organizations often can rent these rooms or tents. There are public ones, but it’s better to have an invitation, so before you go, make some contacts! 😀
In the modern days, these casetas have modern music like in discos, but the tradition is music called sevillanas.
Other symbols are Andalusian horses, traditional Andalusian Flamenco dresses and suits and bright and colorful decoration.
Feria de Abril 2020
La feria de Sevilla 2020 will begin on 26 of April and end on the 2nd of May. Like every year, the area of the feria will be decorated with hundreds of colorful lights that will open the feria. There are expected more than 500 thousand visitors.
Do tourists wear dresses for Feria de Abril?
Yes, tourists can dress in traditional Andalusian clothes. If you have the opportunity, dress up traditionally! But be aware that these dresses are expensive and cost several hundred euros. If you decide not to dress up in traditional wear, dress up nicely, as you would to a wedding!
P.S. Be sure to visit Feria de Abril both during the day and during the night. It’s two totally different experiences. That way, you will complete your visit.
Feria de Jerez – Feria del Caballo
Feria del Caballo in Jerez is another colorful and amazing fair! The special thing about this festival is that it can be both local, and full of tourists. It all depends on another big event – motorcycle races. It can happen that these two events are held at the same time, or near each other, which means a lot of people and tourists will be there.
Where is Feria del Caballo celebrated?
Feria del Caballo is held in a beautiful city of Jerez de la Frontera, very close to Cadiz. This city is famous for its amazing Sherry wine, special kind of vinegar and motorcycle races. In 2013, it was the Wine capital of Europe, and a year later World’s motorcycle capital.
Every year around May, there are two main events in Jerez de la Frontera – Moto GP and Feria del Caballo. If the year is good, and they overlap – it’s another level of fun and experience!
What happens at Feria del Caballo?
Feria de Caballo in Jerez is similar to Feria de Abril in Seville, only more local and less big. It’s charming and traditional, very fun, with lots of things to do. Jerez is a beautiful town, small but charming. It has that vibe like Cadiz and Portugal, a little bit different than central Andalusia.
Jerez is maybe my favorite Spanish city; I dream a lot about it and I hope to come back to it soon. Maybe it’s a personal feeling, but I guarantee you that it is worth visiting.
Feria de Caballo sets the ground to an amazing night out, many bars alongside the road to the ferial area are working the whole night, with modern music and cocktail. It’s great.
Also, horses. You will see a lot of beautiful unearthly horses.
When is Feria del caballo?
Jerez de la Frontera hosts Feria del Caballo (Horse fair) every may. This time of the year in Andalusia is fairly warm. I remember wearing shorts, but also a leather jacket during the night. It may be a bit odd, but do bring sunscreen, because the sun can be pretty harsh even if you don’t feel it.
May is the most beautiful time of the year in Andalusia. If the fall wasn’t cold, you may even swim in Cadiz a bit!
Why is Feria del Caballo celebrated?
Celebrating horses and spring is the main thing at Feria del Caballo in Jerez.
Horse breeding is very important in Spain. Andalusia is famous for its horses, and Andalusians take this job seriously. Horses are one of the many symbols of Andalusia, and I am sure you do make a correlation between horses, Flamenco, Spanish men in traditional uniforms, etc. It’s part of their heritage and they keep their traditions proudly.
Feria del Caballo is a fair and festival dedicated mainly to Andalusian horses and horse-breeding practices. For breeders, it is time to show their skills and make connections.
Feria de Jerez 2020
This year Feria del Jerez will be celebrated between 9th and 16th of May. Sadly, the dates of Moto GP (3th of May) and Feria del Caballo do not overleap this year, but that only means a more local and intimate atmosphere.
If you are nearby, I highly recommend it. Previous two Ferias already have their popularity world-wide, so I find it’s our duty to recommend this Feria de Jerez.
So, here are 3 Spanish ferias you must visit in 2020, or at least once in a lifetime! Explore some of the photos or videos, and you will see how fun and colorful they look!
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