Feria de Málaga – fiesta not for the fainthearted

Sara Baras during flamenco performance

On the left side, you can hear the trumpet, on the right singing and clapping, in each bar a different song is played, but all of them feel the same rhythm; the rhythm of the “fiesta”.

Feria de Malaga is not for the fainthearted.

It lasts eight days and nine nights, and its tradition dates back to the fifteenth century. In August 1487, the Spanish armies of Izabela I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon managed to take the city back from the Moors. Since then, every year in August, the inhabitants of Málaga come out into the streets to celebrate the memory of these victorious days with great ostentation.

Feria de Malaga before sunset

From the morning, residents and tourists are heading towards the main street of the old town – “Marques de Larios”. Women and girls are proud to wear patterned dresses with flounces and artificial flowers in their hair. Young people care for more practical accessories. Necklaces shine in the necks in the form of small glasses hung on the thong. Thanks to this, they will not miss any opportunity to drink Cartojal’s sweet wine.

The older Spaniards are the first to break dance as sitting for hours at the table, having more portions of tapas is not what they like to do during the fiesta. The grey-haired ladies spin gracefully in the traditional dance of “sevillanas”, a variation of flamenco popular during fiestas and carnivals. As the sun increasingly tries to break through the curtains hung between the houses, everyone is dancing. One note is enough for anyone to get up from the chair.

After sunset

Perhaps the city centre has died down, but Malaga is not sleeping. You have to prepare for the night. Towards the evening, everyone will be moving towards the district of Cortijo de Torres, where the whole party commences just after the sunset.

Here, the Feria de Málaga takes on more of a form of a festival. There is a funfair, there are colourful lights and endless rows of “casetas”, or improvised bars. The roofless ones consist only of fragile walls. To find a free table, you often have to cross many junctions. It’s easy to listen to the sounds of flamenco and not to notice that the sun has almost already risen.

And now it’s the time to order the strongest of nine coffees.

In Málaga, the choice of coffee is not limited to espresso and cappuccino. You can enjoy up to nine types of coffee, starting with a solo, a strong black, and ending with “nube”, that literally means a cloud, which translates into a glass of milk with a bit of caffeine.

If you haven’t seen Feria de Málaga as yet, this is a great opportunity to have the most authentic insight into the Andalusian culture.

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