Every year, from the 6th to the 14th of July, it is celebrated the traditional and world-famous Fiesta de San Fermín, festival in honor of the patron saint of Navarre in Pamplona.
This celebration is made in honor of the patron saint commemorating the martyrdom lived by the Navarrese missionary who was beheaded after being ordained bishop of Amiens in France. San Fermin is said to have been the first bishop of Pamplona, but there are no historical documents to prove the man Fermin actually existed. However from unmemorable times its figure has been attracting worshippers and tourists to Navarre city.
In ancient times the celebrations took place in the month of October; however the bad weather did not allow that it was enjoyed to the fullness. That is why from the sixteenth century on these festivals are made to coincide with cattle fairs and bullfights. During all these years the festivities have shown many faces and it has evolved a lot until arriving at the party as we know it today.
One of the people, who made through his work the holiday notorious in the world, was the American writer Ernest Hemingway. In his famous 1926 novel, “The Sun Also Rises” (translated into Spanish as “Fiesta”), Hemingway’s prose takes place in a fictitious running of the bulls of San Fermin. In addition, Hemingway adopted Spain, especially, Navarra city with its festivals, in such an intimate and personal way that the writer enjoyed spending constantly holidays and vacations visiting Navarra and its surroundings. Prior Hemingway to make Pamplona and San Fermin festival scenario of his first great novel, San Fermín was just a provincial and local community festival, but thanks to the influence of the “The Sun Also Rises” novel, the festivities has achieved world-wide fame.
The event that opens the party is the Txupinazo (rocket), a tradition dating back to 1941, at noon on July 6th. The mayor or mayoress on duty, along with their councilors, appears on the balcony of the town hall, while the crowd waits impatiently for the launch of the rocket to uncork the bottles of champagne, wine or sangria. To the order of “Pamploneses, Iruñatarrok, Viva San Fermin, Gora San Fermin!” the celebrations are declared opened.
The main and most striking attraction is the running of the bulls, where hundreds of people dressed in the traditional white and red suit (sash and handkerchief) run wild being chased by bulls through the streets of Pamplona. The origin of this tradition dates back to the 14th century, when the bulls were moved from the countryside to the center of the city for fighting. At that time, the men ran behind and beside the animals, not ahead. In the middle of the 19th century, the current route and the way of following it were established.
Apart from the running of the bulls, every single day of the festival offers several activities and attractions for locals and visitors that can be enjoyed such as parades of giants and big-heads, street parties, concerts, fireworks, processions and much, much more. Without mentioning the exquisite gastronomy that Pamplona offers that is also an attraction in itself.