Hola mis amigos,
Since we last spoke I have been enjoying a month of Spanish celebrations – Semana Santa with my parents, and then two weeks later La Feria de Abril. We have also been enjoying some amazing weather, with it reaching 35 degrees one day in Semana Santa and not really dropping below 20 degrees since (except when it rained last week – the first time in about 2 months). This is the reason I came to Seville! (Well, one of them…..but one of the most important 😝) Needless to say, the tan is coming on VERY well.
2am at night – the streets were filled
So, Semana Santa. Never having witnessed a Catholic Easter celebration, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that there were processions across the city in which the members of the Church whose ‘icon’ was processing walked through the streets with candles, clad in robes (which look a lot like the Clu Clux Clan). And that was about it. I was therefore amazed when my parents and I found ourselves hemmed in on all sides by huge crowds of people in the streets. We had gone out to find some food, and I think we encountered just about every procession going on. I have never seen so many people in Seville streets at once, and they are narrow streets! The processions were huge – the largest had up to 2,400 ‘Nazarenes’ (the people who were walking), and most had at least two icons, with a few which had three. The icons were these huge floats with images of Christ at various different stages of the cross; the crucifixion, carrying the cross, being mocked by the Romans… The second icon was always of Mary, and normally she was accompanied by some fantastically triumphant music from a marching brass band (there a LOT of brass players in Seville!). Maundy Thursday night/Good Friday morning, the time when Jesus was condemned, was the main event for the processions. We stayed up until 1:30am to watch a procession that came right past the flat where my parents were staying – Jésus el Gran Poder. It was one of the longest processions and took almost two hours to go past. We eventually fell into our beds at 3:30am, only to be woken up again at 6:30am by another procession going past with a loud and triumphant brass bland playing ‘It’s blowing in the wind’…..Needless to say we spent most of Friday like zombies. We also did a lot of touristy things and some sunbathing. It was great to see my parents again after three and a half months – the longest I have ever gone without seeing them in person! They left on the Saturday and I spent Easter day enjoying a picnic in the park with my friends from Church – not too bad really! 😊
In between Semana Santa and La Feria life continued as normal and the two weeks flew by. La Feria de Abril is a celebration unique to Seville. It is a week of socialising, drinking, eating, and dancing Flamenco – Sevillanas. It takes place in a part of the city which is completely empty for most of the year. Most people have a ‘caseta’ which is a large tent with chairs and tables and a kitchen too. People spend most of their time in the casetas, which are private, and on the first night they have a big meal before they turn all the lights on. For many people, La Feria is actually a time of work as they have to socialise and network with customers, etc. My host parents went every day except one, leaving at about 3pm and returning between 2 and 4am in the morning! They then slept until midday. I was therefore working some strange hours, and Agu didn’t have school on the Thursday or Friday either. We did all the typical child-friendly activities – making cupcakes, drawing, going to the park, etc.
Fortunately, I was able to go to the Feria both weekends. The first weekend I went with some other au pairs and we went to the Theme Park to go on the rides before the ‘alumbramiento’ on the first night. On the Sunday we managed to get into a caseta and so we did some dancing – I had to show off my Sevillanas skills at some point! I went again the following weekend with some friends from Church and as it was the last day, we stayed to watch the fireworks at midnight which ended the celebrations. It was a bit strange seeing such an amazing firework display not at New Year, but it was a lovely way to finish the celebrations!
As promised, here are some suitably embarrassing photos of me in full-flamenca-fiesta mode….I can say for certain that there is nothing even close to La Feria in England, apart
from perhaps a Fresher’s week at University. The people here, children as well, go out to Feria everyday for most of the night. At 3am there were so many children running around and so much noise that you might have thought it was the middle of the day. I don’t imagine that anyone who lives in Los Remedios, the district next to Feria, had any sleep all week….an we are all still recovering!
Not long now until my presence will once again bless the British Isles…..I will try to bring some Spanish sun with me, otherwise I will be spending ‘summer’ in my penguin onesie to cope with the artic temperatures in comparison to here 😲