San Fermín Celebrations, or Sanfermines, are the most famous Spanish festivals around the world. It takes place in Pamplona the first days of July from the sixth to the fourteenth of this month.
Every year, in the celebrations week Pamplona receives the visit of thousands of people from other parts of Spain and foreigners. All of them with the intention of having a good time, enjoying the beginning of the summer, dancing and participate in the traditional activities, as the chupinazo, the procession or the bulls running.
Pamplona: The city
Pamplona (Iruña) is the capital of the Navarra region, located at the north of Spain, between Aragon, The Basque Country and La Rioja, with The Pyrenees to its north.
Normally Pamplona is a wealthy and calm city which has about 200,000 inhabitants. Its climate is mild, with a lot of green zones.
For many people who appreciate this way of life, these cities placed in the north of the country are the best places to live in Spain. However, in Summer San Fermin transforms Pamplona into an overcrowded city full of tourists and visitors who want to have fun and party.
What to do in San Fermin?
The “chupinazo” marks the start of Sanfermines the 6th of July at midday. It consists on the launching of a firework rocket from the balcony of the Town Hall, in the Consistorial Square, which is full of people dressed in white clothes and a red neckerchief, waiting for the beginning of the festivals.
Then, the same day at 16.30 is the “Riau-Riau”. A tradition since 1914, in where the people go singing and dancing with the municipal band from the Town Hall to the San Fermín Church.
Once started the celebrations, a lot of activities take place in Pamplona: music, attractions, night life and many other activities for all kind of people. However, the most popular events are the bulls running (“encierros”), about which we will talk later.
Another traditional activity is the San Fermín Procession. The 7th of July at 10.00 the procession starts in San Lorenzo parish church and citizens carry the saint through the streets of the city.
Finally, the last day of San Fermin festivals take place the “Pobre de mi”. Here, the people sing lamenting the end of the celebrations.
Running by the bulls
The most famous part of the celebrations are the “encierros”(running of the bulls), a race where the participants dressed in white clothes, run down the streets of the city center to avoid being hit by the horns of the bulls.
This runs starts every day at 8.00 and only adult people are allowed to run. Is spite of this, every year many runners are severely injured by the bulls, so if you are thinking of running of the bulls, take into account that it can be very risky, especially if you haven’t slept the last night or there are too many people in the streets.
Also, in the afternoon the bullfights (corridas de toros) are celebrated. Although, these ones are less popular than the bulls running of the mornings.