2 Calle San Saturnino, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
GPS: 42.8185, -1.64426
The festival of San Fermín (or Sanfermines) is the inseparable event of the city of Pamplona. It is held in honour of Saint Firmin, patron saint of Navarre. The origins of the festivities are religious and date back to medieval times (in the 12th century following the transfer of a relic from Amiens to Pamplona). From 1591 onwards, the event was combined with the livestock fair, bullfighting fiestas and the city’s bullfights in July.
The festival of San Fermín gained its worldwide reputation thanks to the novel “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway in 1926. In is time, this American novelist was passionate about férias and fishing in the Pamplona area.
Dressed in white with a red scarf (pañuelico) and belt (faja), the public comes from all over the world to participate in bullfights, religious celebrations and events that take place during the festival of San Fermín: fireworks competitions, bands (charangas), dances, theatres, parades of giants (gigantes) and bigheads (cabezudos), dances, concerts…
The festivities officially start with the launch of a pyrotechnic rocket (chupinazo) on 6 July and end on 14 July at midnight with a great popular song (Pobre de mí) sung by a human tide. The festival of San Fermín also features a cultural programme and honours the ganaderías, centres for breeding fighting bulls (a bull can weigh 600 kg).
The release and running of the bulls (encierro) remain the central element of the Sanfermines, to the rhythm of brass bands and peñas. They are organized in the historic part of Pamplona. The route leads to the bullring along a 825-metre stretch of track that is full of adrenaline for those who dare to run close to the animals. Around 2,000 people take part in the daily running of the bulls during the 9 days of festivities. It is the shepherds who are in charge of leading the bulls to the bullring with a stick.
During the festival of San Fermín, many activities are offered to the youngest (sports, games, dance classes, workshops, fairs…) in the park of the Plaza de los Fueros.