Spain may still be straining under the effects of the recession but contrary to common belief, itspeople are not all siestas and laziness but rather a nation that knows how to work hard and how to play hard.
After the deeply religious week-long Easter processions, some of which start in the middle of the night or go on until the early hours of the morning depending on the start time and the route they take, Sevilla turns its sights to the party atmosphere of the 'feria’.
Ferias are celebrated in towns throughout the whole of Spain and coincide with the anniversary of the patron saint of the town or city in which they take place. All 'ferias’ come with a promise of much music, colour and merriment and the 'feria de Sevilla’ is the most emblematic of them all, drawing visitors from all over Spain and abroad.
Horses and carriages also feature with driving and dressage competitions for the more enthusiastic or just as a mode of transport , riders dressing in their 'trajes de paseo’ and ladies riding side saddle with their traditional flamenco dresses spilling over the horses rumps.
During 'feria’ week it’s business as usual in the mornings other than on the day of the key saint’s anniversary and come lunch time, whole families dress up in their Sunday best or traditional Spanish costume to congregate in the streets which are festooned with bunting and lined with bars and dance floors ('tablaos’) and the partying begins.
For the aficionado, feria week goes to the very core of Spanish tradition being synonymous with some of the top bullfights of the season. The atmosphere can be electrifying, but for those who would rather stay away, 'La Maestranza’ bullring is a magnificent building probably best visited at other times.
In the evening festivities move to the huge temporary fair grounds set up specifically for the feria, where adults enjoy the food and sherry or 'manzanilla’ at the numerous stalls and marquees and children have a go on the bumper cars, merry-go-rounds or some of the more hair raising daredevil rides.
The locals leave their troubles behind for a few hours when they spill out onto the streets and it’s difficult not to become caught up in the party spirit if you care to join them for a taste of the 'Feria’