FERIA? – WHAT THE !@&*! IS THAT?
Up until now you might be forgiven for thinking that Feria was an exotic hair colouring product from L’Oréal. Or a piece of music by Lindberg. Having done your Google search you will find, as I did, that it’s both these things – but as you will also discover to your amazement, it’s an awful lot more than that.
Feria comes from the Latin meaning ‘free day’,a day on which the people, especially the slaves, were not obliged to work and on which there were no court sessions - in other words, a holiday. But this definition barely does the word justice as more recently it’s been associated with festivals and fairs. So instead of just a day off, think of it as a riot of colour, music, dancing in the street and the Spanish having fun. This YouTube video will show you exactly what I mean.
Infectious, isn’t it? The most famous Feria is probably Seville’s Feria de Abril. Go to http://bit.ly/N2wXHY and check out the details with Exploresville. Alison Broom did earlier this year for The Guardian and found herself captivated by it – see her article at http://bit.ly/xU0NN0. And just in case you didn’t watch the video, here are a few pictures to whet your appetite.
It’s this feeling of joyous, free-spirited fun and the exuberant side of the Spanish character that I’ve tried to capture in my book. There’s nothing serious about Feria – goats, a marching band and three vats of paella (if look carefully you’ll see some close to the beginning of the YouTube video) that all manage to get tangled up. Add in a drunken Chief of Police, an incompetent Mayor and an ageing Flamenco dancer and it’s a recipe for farce. So just sit back, read and enjoy!