One of the most famous activities in Seville is to witness a bull fight in its Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza ( http://www.realmaestranza.com/). Considered art by the aficionados and animal cruelty by adversaries, this spectacle is part of the Southern Spanish character and widely revered. There's also a museum attached to the rink. The most famous toreros appear during the Feria de Abril, when the cream of the crop show off their skills.

A week before Easter, the Holy Week (Semana Santa) celebrations fill Seville's streets to its maximum capacity. The city's usually bright flair turns to the solemn observation of hundreds of processions. Catholic Brotherhoods (hermandades) organize these processsions throughout the city. Each one consists of a Christ (El Christo), The Virgin Mary (Maria), and up to 3000 penitents (Nazarenos) plus two bands. The location of each procession is determined by the origin of the particular brotherhood. There are up to eight processions a day, each lasting between 5 and 13 hours! The most important night is on Thursday into Good Friday (La Madruga). Especially recommendable are the processions of La Macarena its solemn music and 100 Roman soldiers and El Silencio, which only includes three musical instruments in an extremely austere atmosphere.

In 2006, the dates for this spectacle are from April 9th (Domingo de Ramos) until April 16th (Domingo de Resurrecion). Check out Seville's homepage for more details. http://www.sevilla.org/frames.htm and click on the "To visit Seville" section on the right hand panel.

The earnest dealings of the Holy Week are followed by its antithesis: the upbeat April Fair (Feria de Abril). From its humble origins as a livestock market to its current proportions as one of Spain's largest fairs, this is a celebration not to be missed. To truly understand the complex character of the Sevillanos and the multitude of emotions their culture celebrates, the Holy Week and April Fair must be experienced. Held yearly on the Prado de San Sebastian, the livestock market slowly succumbed to the celebrations in 1920 when the festivities took precedent of the business affairs. Many public associations, businesses and private parties have their own tents (Casetas), which are decorated with the flair of a large living room. Members meet each evening for drinking, eating, and dancing. There are some Casetas open to the public as well.

In 2006, the Feria de Abril will be held from April 25th until April 30th in the neighborhood of Los Remedios. Not to be missed are the horse and carriage parades during the late mornings and the parties in the Casetas at night. For more info, visit http://www.sevilla.org/frames.htm and click on the "To visit Seville" section on the right hand panel.

 

Flamenco plays a big role in Andalusia's culture. This extraordinarily powerful art form can be experienced as a spectator or as an active participant in one of the many dance academies.

Flamenco Festivals:

  • Bienal Flamenca de Sevilla: Flamenco Festival, which takes place every two years. The next one is from September 13th until October 15th, 2006. Spanish website: http://www.bienal-flamenco.org/ 

Flamenco Shows: There are daily showings in commercially organized Tablaos. Cost around 25-60 USD:

Flamenco Schools: Get involved and learn some impressive new dance moves.