Today I want to talk to you about the San Fermin festival, one of the most popular and fun celebrations in the world. Do you know what they consist of and why they are held? Well, keep reading, I’m going to tell you all about it.
The festivities of San Fermin are held every year from July 6th to 14th in Pamplona, the capital of Navarra in Spain. They are in honor of San Fermin of Amiens, the first bishop of the city and co-patron of the region. According to tradition, Saint Fermin baptized thousands of people in the 3rd century and died a martyr in France.
But what makes these festivities famous is not only their religious aspect, but also their festive and multicultural atmosphere. For nine days, Pamplona is filled with people from all over the world who come to enjoy the music, the gastronomy, the fireworks and, above all, the running of the bulls.
The running of the bulls is the most emblematic and exciting event of the Sanfermines. They consist of a race of about 850 meters through the streets of the old town, in which participants run in front of six brave bulls and six steers that guide them to the bullring. The running of the bulls takes place every day at eight o’clock in the morning, from July 7 to 14, and lasts between two and four minutes.
The running of the bulls is a very old tradition that dates back to the 14th century, when the shepherds had to drive the cattle to the bullring for the bullfights. Over time, some young men were encouraged to run in front of the animals to demonstrate their bravery and skill. Thus was born this unique spectacle that has inspired writers like Ernest Hemingway, who described it in his novel “The Sun Also rises”.
But not everyone can or wants to run the running of the bulls. It must be taken into account that it is a very dangerous activity that requires a good physical and mental shape. In addition, you have to respect some rules and some chants that are made before each race to ask for protection to the saint. For this reason, many people prefer to watch the running of the bulls from their balconies or on television.
But beyond the bulls, there are many other activities that can be done during the Sanfermines. For example, you can attend the procession on July 7th, in which the image of San Fermin is carried through the streets; you can enjoy the giants and big-heads, papier-mâché figures representing different races and continents; you can dance to the rhythm of the charangas and the peñas, musical groups that liven up the festival; or you can taste the rich Navarrese gastronomy, with typical dishes such as chistorra, ajoarriero or cuajada.
The most important thing to experience the Sanfermines is to wear the typical costume: white T-shirt and pants, with a red scarf and a red sash. The scarf is worn around the neck after the chupinazo, the rocket that starts the festivities on July 6 at 12 noon from the balcony of the town hall. The handkerchief is removed with el pobre de mí, a song that is sung on the night of July 14 to bid farewell to the fiestas.
I recommend everyone to experience the fiestas of San Fermin at least once in a lifetime.