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Thursday, April 27, 2006

If You’re Going to Sevilla…

The Feria de Abril, once a cattle market, now features horse-drawn carriages and lots of flowers in the ladies’ hair.


In Andalusian costume for Feria de Abril

Photo: Sevilla Tourism

Until April 30th, the beautiful and gracious city of Sevilla, Spain, will be more than usually awash in fans and lanterns—oh, and really tight polka-dot skirts.


The Andalusians can get away with this, and do, especially at the annual Feria de Abril (April Fair). What began as a big livestock trade day has evolved into a much more decorous celebration. In the spotlight are the well-to-do families of the city, who present their handsome young people in traditional Andalusian costumes, drawn past the hoi-polloi on horseback or in carriages. Proper attire for this occasion will be cropped black jackets and flat-topped black hats (Zorro!) for the men, and for the women shuddering, bright flamenco gowns.

imageYoung ladies at Feria de Abril, Sevilla

Photo: Jean Marc Stephan

The flamenco costume for women is elaborately accessorized: a fan, shoes with high but heavy heels, a floral shawl, decorative combs, and to top it off a showy flower in the hair. Why flowers? We can only guess: flamenco dancers traditionally pull their hair back into a tight chignon, to sharpen the profile. A red (or nowadays bright blue) flower against a glossy black head is sparkling, suggestive and dramatic. It may have been that Spanish women also wanted flowers handy to toss into the bullfight ring, and there will be many bullfights this week in Seville.

Spanish readers, please advise.

Whatever the reason, the floral hair accessory is a must for every female, young or not so young, at this spring festival of Southern Spain. Feria de Abril may showcase the first families of the city, but with a flower behind her ear, any woman looks like a queen.

Posted by Julie on 04/27 at 02:23 PM
Culture & SocietySecular CustomsPermalink