THE FESTIVAL• The festival of Saint Fermin in the city of Pamplona is avery famous celebration held annually from 6 July, whenthe opening of the party is marked by setting off thechupinazo, to midnight 14 July, with the singing ofthe Pobre de Mí.• The most famous event is the encierro, or the running ofthe bulls, which happens from July 7th to July 14th.• It is known locally as Sanfermines and it is held inhonour of Saint Fermin, the co-patron of Navarre.• It has become probably the most internationallyrenowned festival in Spain.
ORIGINS• Combination of two medieval events:1. Commercial fairs were held at the beginning of thesummer. As cattle merchants came into town with theiranimals, eventually bullfighting came to be organizedas a part of the tradition.2. On the other hand religious ceremonies honoring thesaint were held on October 10. In 1591 they weretransferred to the 7th of July to take place at the sametime as the fair; when Pamplonas weather is better.• This is considered to be the beginning ofthe Sanfermines.
MODERNS TIMES• The worldwide fame ofthe modern festival,and the great numberof foreign visitors itreceives every year,are closely related tothe description byErnest Hemingwaysbook The Sun AlsoRises and his job as ajournalist.
RIAU-RIAU• Mass activity held on 6July.• The procession wasremoved from the festivalcalendar in 1992 for thesake of public order, aspolitical activists used the"Riau-Riau" to promoteclashes with authorities.• In 1996 and 2012 therewere two failed attemptsto restore the original act.
SAINT FERMIN PROCESSION• On July 7, thousands of dancers and streetentertainers, and different political and religiousauthorities including the city mayor accompanythe 15th-century statue of Saint Fermin.
“CHUPINAZO”• The opening of thefestival is marked by thechupinazo.• The rocket is launched at12:00 noon on the 6th ofJuly from a city hallbalcony.• The chupinazo hasofficially marked thebeginning of the fiestasince 1941.
STRUENDO• People gather at the Town Hall and make as muchnoise as possible for several hours mainly with drumsbut also casseroles or any other object.
POBRE DE MÍ• After nine days ofpartying, the people ofPamplona meet in theTownhall Plaza atmidnight on 14 July,singing the traditionalmournful notes ofthe Pobre de Mí, in acandlelit ending.• The city mayor closesthe festival withparticipants lighting acandle and removingtheir red handkerchief.
Running of the bulls• The running of the bulls involveshundreds of people running infront of six bulls and another sixsteers.• The run ends in the Pamplonasbullring taking a mean time ofaround 3 minutes where thebulls would be held until theafternoons bullfight when theywould be killed.• It is dangerous. Since 1925,15 people have been killedduring the event.
GIANTS AND BIG-HEADS PARADE• Every day, there is a parade ofgiants and big-heads. The eightgiant’s figures represent four pairs ofkings and queens of four differentraces and places (Europe, Asia,America and Africa).• Their size is around 4 metres eachand are carried by a dancer inside awooden structure.• Big-heads simply precede the giantsand wave their hands at spectators,but kilikis run after children and hitthem. Zaldikos, figures representinghorses with their riders, also run afterchildren with a truncheon.
FIREWORKS• Every night a firework spectacle is held atthe citadel park. Fireworks spectacleshave been known to occur in Sanfermin asfar back as 1595.• Since the year 2000 an internationalfireworks contest is held. Thousands ofpeople watch them seated on the grassaround the citadel.