De April Feria van Sevilla, Spanje
De opening: el Alumbrao
De officiele opening van "La Feria de Abril" is "El Alumbrado" (de 'aansteking') dat elk jaar begint met het teglijkertijd aansteken van de half miljoen lampepeertjes, van de grote ingangspoort en van de vele lampionnen die het hele feria terrein sieren. Dit Alumbrado vind altijd plaats op de maandag om middernacht.
Aan het eind van de feria, op zondag, is er een groot vuurwerk, ook weer om middernacht.
The Feria, where the natural beauty of the Sevillian girls and women is enhanced by the typical flamenca dresses, is an ideal place for cordiality and friendship amongst glasses of manzanilla wine (sherry), some tapas (small andalusian snacks) to eat, with singing an couples dancing Sevillanas (a specific version of the flamenco dance). The most important reason for going to the fair is just to have a good time with friends, enjoying it in a festive surrounding.
About the casetas of Seville's april Fair
The "casetas" are made of a metal base and then covered with a green or red pin-striped canvas, each stripe about 10 cm. wide. At the outside of the tent you will find banisters and little triangle-shaped flags. The flags crown the facade of the tent with a baroque style, and sometimes show the casetas' name or logo. Also required are striped curtains at the entrance with a small canvas roof.
The inside of the tents are divided into three parts, usually separated by curtains. The first is the noble part which can not have advertising and is usually decorated by the tenants. The decoration should camouflage the second part. The floor is generally made of wooden planks. In the noble part a floor is set up suited for dancing.
There are more than a thousand individual tents (casetas) but still there are so many petitions for casetas that must be rejected, that city officials start considering a new location for the fair.
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Oorsprong van de Feria de Sevilla
Seville's April Fair was founded in 1846, surprisingly, by two none-sevillians, a Basque and a Catalan. The initial aim of these two industrious founders was no other than to improve business (trade and agriculture).
However, in a few years time the local people managed to change the character of the fair into something more festive. It has now converted to one of the mayor folkloric celebrations in Spain and one of the main tourist attractions of Seville.
Even so, the local people still do trade and close deals at the fair, still complying with the original intentions of the April fair.
The Seville fair is celebrated on an huge open site (about 1500 x 700 meters), just out of the city center, to the south of the Los Remedios quarter, opposite of the Maria Luisa park. On this site, the Seville people and companies construct thousands of small, temporary "houses" of cardboard walls and canvas roofing, known as casetas. The result is an ephemeral city that only needs to last one week. The main entrance gate is a huge temporary cardboard monument that each year resembles one of the city's prominent buildings or sites and the streets are lit by hundreds of thousands of light bulbs and lanterns.
Horse and carts parade
In the afternoon, one should not miss the majestic parade of carts and horses, being the horse riders dressed in the typical "traje corto" (Andalusian country worker suit). The street animation never ends, either day or night.