This week in Seville there is a fantastic opportunity for cultural immersion, at La Velá de Santa Ana, a festival taking place just along the Guadalquivir River in the emblematic Triana neighborhood. You can’t miss the green and white awnings so typical of the Spring Fair and other festive celebrations of this region, and where you can find all sorts of local delicacies. The plate of choice of this particular festival is grilled sardines and if you want to give them a try, just ask the camarero for una de sardinas.
La Velá coincides with the feast days for both Santa Ana (July 26) and Santiago (a.k.a. Saint James, July 25). The so-called “mini Cathedral” of Seville is the church of Santa Ana (patroness of the barrio of Triana, of course), which is actually the oldest in Seville. It was built in 1280, combining early Gothic and Mudéjar styles and containing an impressive altar piece painted by Pedro de Campaña, a Flemish painter of the Renaissance period.
What goes on at La Velá? For a full cultural program, click on this link. There are local music and dance performances, religious ceremonies and conferences, and prized awarded to local Trianeros and institutions. Sporting events use the river as a focal point, like kayaking races – perfect for the hottest time of the year. Most importantly, you can experience the famous cucaña competition. Cucaña literally means greasy pole and the competition is one that actually has variations worldwide, and consists in being the first to reach the top of the pole (usually jutting out from a boat) without falling in to the water below. A fun event to watch for sure, and great for the kids.
Every year, a new artist is commissioned to design the official poster. This year’s artist is José Cerezal and his distinctively beautiful fauvism style so reminiscent of the Impressionist period, yet with a splash of modernism. We love the color he brings with his art to the village where we live (it so happens we are neighbors!)
So, pop on over for a truly authentic cultural experience – join the Spaniards in their local festivities, and have a blast! Or keep it in mind for your next trip to Seville.
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