|El Rocio on horse back.|
Horses are inextricably woven into the Andalucian culture. Most of the festivals in Andalucia involve the impressive Andalucian horses, famous for their long tumbling manes, great presence and strong paces.
Horses play an important part in the following festivals;
Seville Spring Feria (Fair)
Dating back to 1847, Seville feria is one of the most important in Andalucia. Some of the best horses in the region travel from miles around to parade and compete at this, the oldest feria in Andalucia.
More about Seville Spring Feria.
More about Seville
Held in Gonzalez Hontoria Park, Jerez Feria, is one of the most important events in the equestrian calendar. Jerez is home to some of the grandest families in the region, their studs and bull-breeding farms surround this beautiful old city.
There is something for everyone at the Jerez feria; bulls, carriage driving, showjumping, dressage and the more traditional Doma Vaquera competitions, Jerez is one of the most prestigious ferias in Spain. To win ´best of breed´at Jerez feria is a great honour.
More about Jerez Spring Fair.
More about Jerez
The Rocío Pilgrimage or "Romería"
A charming tradition in Andalucia are the less well known "romerías", where horses ride from miles around to gather together for a vast spring picnic under the cork trees for tradional music and dancing.
A Romería so called because pilgrims traditionally walked to Rome, and therefore became known as "romeros" - to popular shrines, around which great fiestas are held. Perhaps the most spectacula is the one devoted to the Virgen del Rocío, popularly called "El Rocio" for short.
Nearly a million people gather in a small hamlet in the marshlands of the
Guadalquivir river delta, where the statue of the "Madonna of the Dew" has been worshipped since 1280. The pilgrims come on horseback and in gaily decorated covered wagons from all over the region, transforming the flatlands into a colourful and noisy carnival.
More about Rocio
Every town and village in Andalucia has its own feria or fair, and it would be possible, if one had superhuman powers of endurance, to spend the whole summer following them about the region.
The first feria takes place at Seville in April (two weeks after Semana Santa) and the last is at San Pedro de Alcantara in mid October. More>