The Andalusian Fairs are festivals that encapsulate most Spanish traditions in a few days. Each city in Andalusia has their own, unique to the area and different to the rest. However, they all have something in common: a lot of fun, joy, traditional Andalusian wine, and a touch of flamenco.
What is an Andalusian Fair and where do they come from?
Nowadays, the fairs are the traditional festivals of each town, that can be both religious and secular. In the past, they were trading fairs. Merchants from all over Spain would attend to trade pigs, horses, sheep, cows and all kinds of animals.
Traditional elements of any Andalusian Fair are:
The entryway. This element is situated at the entrance of the fairground, especially in bigger cities, in the form of a huge gate with local architecture styles and colourful lights.
The tents. These are normally enclosed areas traditionally decorated with Andalusian flowers, lanterns, etc. People come here to drink, dance, and spend time with their friends.
The food stands. Stands where they sell food and drinks. They tend to sell typical Andalusian dishes, tapas, and drinks or traditional mixers such as the manzanilla (white wine from Jerez) or rebujito (a mix of manzanilla with Sprite)
Traditional outfits. Andalusian women dress up in stunning traditional flamenco outfits during the fair, maintaining Spanish traditions.
All kinds of Andalusian music: sevillanas, flamenco, as well as pop music.
An area dedicated to fairground rides, separate from the rest of the fair. These include: ferris wheels, rollercoasters, haunted houses etc.
Now that you know the main parts of these beautiful celebrations, we’ll tell you about the seven best fairs in all of Andalusia.
Andalusian Fairs: Malaga´s August Feria
This fair is usually celebrated in August. It stands out from other Andalusian fairs for its liveliness both in the daytime and nighttime. From the early hours in the morning, the city centre fills up with people dancing sevillanas and drinking sweet wine. At night, the festivities move to the fairground, which opens its doors to put on concerts, attractions for children, and a long list of activities. You can take the opportunity to come and learn Spanish in Malaga around these dates, enjoying the unique atmosphere and having an unforgettable experience.
Andalusian Fairs: Ronda’s Pedro Romero Feria and Goyesca bullfight
It’s the only fair in the world dedicated to a bullfighter, celebrated during the first week of September in the town of Ronda in Malaga. In Ronda’s 200-year-old Plaza de la Real Maestranza de Caballería we can see the unique Goyesca bullfight, one of the oldest Spanish traditions. This fair is declared an Andalusian Festival of National Tourist Interest.
Andalusian Fairs: Jaén’s San Lucas Feria
It’s the latest of the big Andalusian festivals. It is celebrated in the middle of October, closing the Feria season as the last. The fairground receives thousands of visitors during the week, both in the daytime and the nighttime.
Andalusian Fairs: Seville’s April Feria
It is without doubt the most famous of all the Andalusian fairs. Its name comes from the month of the celebration, although its start date always falls on the second Sunday after Easter.
The only bad thing about this fair is that the majority of the tents are private and you might have to know someone to get in. If you choose a Spanish course in Seville around these dates, you’ll have an advantage, as we’ll be able to get you into the private tents at the fair.
Andalusian Fairs: Sanlúcar de Barrameda’s “Manzanilla Fair”
Manzanilla is the emblematic and traditional wine of Sanlúcar. This drink gives its name to the Feria and accompanies its speciality dishes, such as seafood or fried fish. This fair is open to all visitors, and you can really enjoy a visit to Cadiz participating in these local festivities.
Andalusian Fairs: Jerez’ Horse Feria
One of the most renowned fairs in Spain. In May in Jerez, the best horses of every breed come from all over the country to this town in Cadiz. They then take part in the parade that passes through the main streets of the area. Here you’ll be able to see authentic Spanish, and especially Andalusian, traditions: horses, national costumes, and, of course, the famous Spanish spirit.
If you want to enjoy these festivals, come and do a Spanish course in Cadiz and get to know the region’s culture.
Andalusian Fairs: Granada’s Corpus Feria
Celebrated throughout the whole week of Corpus Christi. Its biggest and most solemn days are the Wednesday night before, when we can enjoy the parade, and the Thursday of Corpus Christi, when all the shops close their doors, and everyone takes to the streets to celebrate the festivities. All of Granada participates in theatre performances, concerts, and shows. At night, everyone moves to the fairground on the outskirts of the city. It has all kinds of tents and attractions: a place to drink, eat, and have a good time.
These are only some of the most famous fairs, but there are many more. There are some towns that have more than one fair a year. This tends to happen especially in the province of Córdoba. Surrounding towns such as Lucena, Rute or Iznájar have their “Feria chica” and “Feria grande”. The first is normally celebrated at the beginning of summer, and the other at the end to bid farewell to the season.
If you want to learn more about the culture of the ferias and Spanish traditions, visit Andalusia with us and go to all the events in your chosen city.