Seville is known for its lively and festive spirit, and its reputation is very well-deserved.
In this article, I will introduce you to the city’s most important festivals, giving you a glimpse into its rich culture and what to expect if you happen to be visiting during one of these celebrations.
Some even gather more than 1 million visitors every year to pilgrimage! Isn’t that insane?
Whether it’s music, dance, Flamenco, or gastronomy, you name it! There’s always something happening in this beautiful city.
Things like this captivate visitors from around the world. And I will show you what makes them a must-see for any traveler. Let’s go!
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The April Fair
📅 Two weeks after Holy Week or Easter in Spain.
You’ve probably heard a lot of hype about this famous spring festival in Seville.
The truth is that it is the most awaited and loved festivity by the Sevillanos. It is characterized by a week of pure joy, enjoyment, dances, songs, chants, and spending time with family and loved ones.
For a week, the more than a thousand “casetas” are installed in the fairgrounds become the second home for the inhabitants of this city, a space where they can share and have fun together until the wee hours of the morning.
On Sunday, the fair’s last day, the night sky is dyed with light, color, and the smell of gunpowder with the fireworks that end this party full of music, color, and joy.
The April Fair has had visits of the level of Rainier of Mónaco, Grace Kelly, and Jacqueline Kennedy.
📍The fair occurs in the Real de la Feria, a huge space (450,000 m2) between *Los Remedios and Tablada neighborhoods.*
This place occupies 24 blocks and is divided into fifteen streets. Each street carries the name of a famous bullfighter, and you can read the perspective biography on a street sign.
📅 Dates change annually. Easter 2024 is from Thursday, March 28, to Sunday, March 31, or Monday, April 1.
As much as there is talk about the Seville fair, this does not leave Holy Week behind.
Holy Week is an important holiday that remembers the path of Jesus Christ before being crucified.
The stars of the Holy Week processions are the floats or “pasos” that carry life-size sculptures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. This sculpture can date back to the 16th century and is exposed in the city’s churches during Holy Week so people can admire them.
Around 50,000 people dress as Nazarenes to parade in the 58 processions that are organized, while the “costaleros” carry the pasos (religious images) on their backs.
Iñigo had the chance to speak with a costalero from Seville! If you’re interested, here’s the podcast
The most traditional procession and floats from Seville are “La Madruga,” “La Borriquita,” and “La Estrella.”
📍Beginning in Campana, followed by Calle Sierpes, Plaza San Francisco, and Avenida de la Constitución, before reaching the Cathedral.
📅 Held every two years between September and October
The Flamenco Biennial is a great international event in the world of Flamenco as it brings together international programmers and festivals in Seville.
During these dates, Seville becomes the great showcase where fans and artists can express themselves through Flamenco and show the world that this tradition remains!
Here, dancers, singers, and guitarists from the world of Flamenco participate in shows and theater presentations, and young talents and top-level figures represent authentic Flamenco and new trends in this genre.
You can go to any theatre, and they will have specific shows regarding the festivity.
The programming of La Bienal lasts for almost an entire month. Meanwhile, in the years where it is not celebrated, “September is flamenco” takes place, which lasts about two weeks.
📍Different locations depending on the theater and show
El Rocío Pilgrimage
📅 During the weekend of Pentecost Sunday, 50 days after the end of Holy Week.
As you can see, Catholic traditions significantly influence Spanish culture.
The Rocío Pilgrimage is the most awaited moment for Catholics who come every year from various parts of Spain and abroad to walk the road and visit their beloved Virgen del Rocío.
This is a pilgrimage until reaching the village of El Rocío; the expedition becomes a festival of carts, colorful gypsy dresses, horse capers, dust, songs, and flamenco dances.
So, the road is already a festivity in itself, and they are done on foot, on horseback, or by cart.
*📍These are four:*
The Camino de Sanlúcar: 10km from Cádiz.
The Camino de Los Llanos: From Almonte.
The Camino de Sevilla: the most famous. It passes through the heart of the Doñana National Park, of faith and religious feeling.
The Way of Moguer: from Huelva.
The pilgrimage’s events, acts, and program last from Saturday to Monday after Pentecost.
Velá de Santiago y Santa Ana
📅 Santiago on July 25, and Santa Ana, on July 26.
The oldest festivity in the city of Triana.
The “Velada” or “Velá” of Santa Ana, or rather, of Santiago and Santa Ana, originates with the beginning of the cult of the image of Santa Ana in the church built in the second half of the 13th century.
These famous veladas were traditionally very popular in Seville for past centuries.
But why? Well, let’s go back in time: Seville had been conquered by the Muslims in 1248 by Fernando III. His son Alfonso X inherited the Castilian throne. After he got infected by an eye condition, he promised Santa Ana, mother of the Virgin Mary, to build a church in her honor if she was cured, and so it was.
As the neighborhood expanded, the residents did everything possible for the king to build his church dedicated to Santa Ana on the right bank of the Guadalquivir.
📅 The Thursday following the eighth of Pentecost.
Corpus Christi is a significant feast for Spanish Catholics who pay homage to the Body of Christ. We celebrate it with a mass and a Procession with the Corpus Christi Monstrance.
Every year, the City Council launches a program of activities before Corpus Christi with music and the contest for balconies, shop windows, and altars as protagonists.
This means that Seville is a perfect place if you are interested in learning more about the culture of Spain, its beliefs, and the traditions that remain most deeply rooted in its core.
Here’s a map guide so you know where to see the processions!
📍Starts from the Plaza de San Francisco
Virgen de los Reyes
📅 August 15th
The last festivity we will mention in this article, but no less important, is the Virgen de los Reyes celebration on August 15. It is a unique occasion to visit the city.
This is quite an experience, and expectations are always high for days before the celebration. This is how it goes:
A “besamanos” is celebrated on the previous days, 4 and 5. It refers to kissing the hand of the Virgin (literally) while asking her to help us do what this world needs most.
On the 14th, there is a parade around the Cathedral of Seville. The municipal band follows the same route as the Virgen de los Reyes procession, and then the Municipal Symphonic Band arrives.
On the 15th, the festivity continues with the celebration of the Eighth, for seven days, from the 15th to the 20th, at the Jubilee altar and from the 21st to the 22nd in the Royal Chapel with a second-hand kiss and the opening on the 22nd of the Urn of San Fernando.
📍Starts from Puerta de los Palos
Seville’s festivals reflect the city’s character and traditions. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable travel experience that combines history, culture, drinks, tasty food, and a lot of partying, Seville should be at the top of your list.
I hope this article has inspired you to discover the charm of Seville’s festivals to live a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I promise will make you fall in love with the city!
Jimena Bolívar is a seasoned travel writer with a unique passion for Spanish Food & Recipes. With a background in business and marketing, she brings a strategic and innovative approach to her writing, making her the perfect guide for those looking to truly experience the Authentic Spain. Jimena is also a Mother of 4, and is a huge fan of knitting her own clothes.