Holy Week and Feria de Abril are, without a doubt, the most popular celebrations in Seville. Both have plenty of ingredients to entertain and amaze visitors and locals. These events are usually celebrated between March and April, and have just a 2-weeks-gap in between.
In spite of being a must see in Seville, Holy Week and April Fair are two very different celebrations. Whereas one offers a traditional and cultural experience, the other one has the spontaneity of a dancing party. If you plan to visit Seville and are doubting on which one to attend, you will enjoy checking out this list of differences in order to give you more information about these events. Here we go!
Holy Week in Seville: a traditional religious event
The Easter Week is the biggest religious event of the city, and one of the main reasons for travelers to visit Seville. Its large number of processions and the environment created by its followers make it a highly valued event that no one wants to miss. It is also a great time if you want to take some awesome pictures!
Usually celebrated in March (when the moon is full), the Holy Week has several characteristics that make it unique. If you are looking for a quiet and traditional celebration of the city, here you can check out the highlights of the Easter Week in Seville:
Go see the processions
We could say that processions are the soul of Holy Week. They are in charge of taking Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary through a scheduled path, and then save them in their respective churches. Up to 60 “hermandades” (brotherhoods) get out during Easter Week and dazzle to the crowd by marching in silence or accompany by a music band, and carrying stunning floats. You will be amazed by the environment created and because of the devotion that locals exhibit to their processions.
Visit the most important churches
If you are coming to Seville in order to attend to the Holy Week, you have the perfect chance to visit the historic churches of the city. You will find a wide range of churches in Seville, but among them there are some that are a must: Esperanza Macarena, San Luis, and Santa Marina.
In these churches you will find a unique Andalusian Baroque style full of elements that decorate the inner chapels. Of course, you must visit the king one: the Cathedral of Seville. But you won’t be able to access it during Holy Week! So you better visit it right before or after these days.
Try the typical food and drink
Attending to the Holy Week not only means to watch processions, but also to try the typical food and drink of the event. The most popular one is called “torrijas”: slices of bread cooked with milk, egg, honey and cinnamon that will sweeten yourself and recharge your batteries after a busy day. “Torrijas” are the king-dish of Holy Week, and they are only eaten during this time of the year.
Talking about drinks, there is one that just for its name invites you to drink it: “Sangre de Cristo” (Blood of Christ). This drink made by mixing grenadine, rose champagne and whiskey can be found in Bar Garlochí, one of those places you definitely need to see in Seville during Holy Week.
Be part of the “Madrugá”
Celebrated on Viernes Santo (Good Friday), the “Madrugá” is the biggest moment of the entire Holy Week. It takes its name because all the processions of the Good Friday start their itinerary at late night and finish it in the morning. Some of the most popular procession take part during this night, like Esperanza de Triana, La Macarena, or El Gran Poder. The “Madrugá” is a perfect opportunity to live the Holy Week at its best.
Seville April Fair: the party that lasts a week!
Unlike Holy Week, Feria de Abril is the celebration of the flamenco party. In this popular event you can enjoy a traditional fair while dancing, drinking, eating and meeting the friendly and easy going locals of Seville. What started as a local celebration in 1846 has turned into an international event that receives thousands of visitors every year.
Nowadays, the Seville April Fair represents the biggest event of the city with the Holy Week, and it is an open door to know the popular local flamenco dancing: “sevillanas”. So if you are looking for a noisy and lively party full of energy, the Feria de Abril in Seville is your perfect choice. Find out more about this amazing event!
Get into the “casetas”
The “casetas” are how locals call to the booths, and it is where they gather each other in order to party during the Feria. There are up to 1.000 “casetas” along the fair enclosure, which most of them are private. Inside them you will find locals drinking, singing, and dancing “sevillanas”, the typical flamenco dance of Seville.
The only way to get inside into a private “caseta” is being invited by a member. But if you are not lucky enough to meet a local, don´t worry: there are several public “casetas” that you will be able to enjoy as a real “sevillano”.
Don’t miss the night of “Alumbrao”
The first night of the Feria de Abril befalls a moment that every local loves and has been waiting for a year: the “Alumbrao”. It happens on the first Monday of the fair, when they light up all the streets and the main door of the Feria.
As a tradition, many locals attend to their “casetas” for dinner, then meet at the main door of the fair before midnight and wait for the lighting. At 00.00, like a clockwork, thousands of bulbs light up at the same time and cause the joy of the crowd. The “Alumbrao” serves as a prelude of the beginning of the Feria de Abril, and it will repeat every night during the week of the fair. Get your camera ready to take some pics, because you will get an amazing snapshot!
Have some “pescaíto frito”
The same night of the “Alumbrao” also befalls a special dinner on the fair which is called “pescaíto frito” (fried fish). This dinner with a funny name consists on a mixture of fried fresh fish from the region (among other typical things like “jamón serrano” (Iberian ham) or omelettes), and it is the favorite way for “sevillanos” to start the Feria.
In the night of “pescaíto” you will find a wide range of fish and sea food, like anchovies, calamari, surmullet, and much more. Take advantage and join this lively dinner with friends. You will be amazed by the flavors of the south of Spain!
Go to the rides in Calle del Infierno
If we tell you that the translation of this name means “Hell´s Street”, would you think twice about visiting it? 😉 Don’t be scared! The Calle del Infierno is just the area that accommodates the theme park of the Feria de Abril.
It is the favorite place for many locals that are looking for more fun and adrenaline during the Seville April Fair. The fact is that in this place you can find a wide range of different attractions, things to do and even places to eat (waffles, “churros”…). If you enjoy risk adventures and want to test yourself, try with the “Top Gun” or “Barca Vikinga”attractions. You will love the feeling of flying… or not! 😉
After this information, which event do you prefer? Are you more interested in the Holy Week or the Feria de Abril? We can assure you that both of them are great, but you will enjoy more one or another depending on your personality. As we mentioned before, if you are looking for a traditional and conservative event, Holy Week is probably your best choice. On the contrary, if you have preferences for parties and lively events, Feria de Abril won´t disappoint you!
We will work for you to get a wonderful memory of your time during these events!