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The “Feria” of lights, lanterns, polka dots and colours

Unfortunately this post will not complete the task given by the card “Festival Fun”, as I was a mere spectator and not an active contributor to the Festival, but I experienced something so unique that it could not pass “unblogged”, even if this will be just the usual blog post that you can read about a festival.

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I have the fortune to spend my year abroad in one of the most fascinating parts in Spain, the southern region of “Andalucia”, known for being a land rich in folklore and traditions and, luckily enough, there is no better time in year than this to enjoy its many internationally-renowned festivals and celebrations.

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One of the most famous festivities is known as the “Corpus Christ”, a Catholic holiday “celebrating the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and his Real Presence in the Eucharist”. At least, that is what Wikipedia says. Being an unfaithful heretic, I’m probably not the best person to whom to ask for explanations. Anyway, it is not the religious part we are interested in: the city of Granada is famous for having mixed the “Corpus Christ” with the Pagan “Feria” (fair) celebrations, giving birth to a unique festival that animates the whole city throughout a month.

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Even though we said we will nonchalantly ignore the religious side of the story, let me just say that the history of “Corpus Christi” in Granada is particularly interesting as the Catholic kings used it as a tool to Christianize a population that had been under Muslim rule for eight centuries. According to historical accounts, they even instructed the City council to invest large sums of money into the Feria and urged the town to celebrate.

The Feria begins each year on the 40th day from Easter holiday and the celebrations last seven days: this year it was from the 1st June until the 7th.

During a week, all kind of celebrations and activities colour the city: puppet shows and games for children, bullfighting, processions, balcony decorations, competitions and exhibitions.

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The northern part of Granada becomes the fairground, which comprises three parts: the stands area, the swings and attractions, and the access paths where you will find many bars and stalls with confectionery, baked potatoes, etc. Each of these paths is decorated with thousands of lights and lanterns.

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In the stands area, people gather in what are known as “casetas”: big tents with tables, chairs, stages and kitchens, where you can taste typical Spanish food, drink “rebujito” (a cocktail that mixes sherry and Sprite) and dance “sevillanas” (the traditional Andalusian dance).

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Men and women dress up in their finery, ideally the customary “traje corto” (short jacket, tight trousers and boots) for men and the “trajes de flamenca” (flamenco-style dress) for women. The men traditionally wear hats (or sombreros) called “cordobés”.

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During the day, the fair is a family and folkloric event that, as the hours goes by, turns into a huge party for younger people where the “casetas” become night clubs.

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If you find yourself in southern Spain at this time of the year, the “Feria” is definitely something you cannot miss as it brings out the best of the Andalucians. There is no better way to get to know their culture than at the moment when every town and village strives to put on a splendid show, not only for themselves but also for those who come from afar to admire and enjoy.

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Granada, you will never cease to amaze me.

Tharusha, from Granada (Spain)

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