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Home » Culture » Spain » Society » Spanish Holidays » San Fermin

San Fermin Festival

Running of the Bulls in Spain

San Fermin Festival. Every year, thousands of people, dressed in the traditional white clothing, celebrate the week of San Fermin in Pamplona.

Uno de enero, dos de febrero, tres de marzo, cuatro de abril, cinco de mayo, seis de junio, siete de julio ¡San Fermín!
(January 1st, February 2nd, March 3rd, April 4th, May 5th, June 6th, July 7th. San Fermin!)

Every year, thousands of Pamploneses (people from Pamplona) and visitors, dressed from head to toe in the traditional immaculate white clothing with red handkerchiefs around their necks, fill the streets of Pamplona to celebrate the week of festivities in honor of San Fermin known as Los Sanfermines. The festival of San Fermin mixes a variety of contrasts: official and popular culture, religion and profanity, new and old, and order and chaos. The celebration kicks off with the launch of a rocket (el chupinazo) in the square of town hall at noon on July 6th and ends nine days later on July 14th.

The Running of the Bulls

This street festival gained international popularity after the American author Ernest Hemingway used the celebration as a backdrop for the characters of his 1926 masterpiece The Sun Also Rises (Fiesta in Spanish). Today, Los Sanfermines continue to be world famous as a place where the brave take the challenge in the Encierro (running of the bulls). However, San Fermin is not only running with bulls. The streets of Pamplona also come alive with music, fireworks, folkloric events, dancing, singing and religious ceremonies.

Los Sanfermines offer visitors an open and hospitable festival, where anything out of the ordinary is welcome and can soon become part of the tradition, as long as it is respectful of others. Los Sanfermines are a festival where nobody is a stranger, where all participants are considered equal, and where the festive spirit never dies throughout its 9 days of celebrations.

The festive spirit of Los Sanfermines is important, but this is also a festival with religious origins. Events such as the procession that takes place on the morning of the 7th day, help keep this aspect alive. The religious celebration complements, in perfect harmony, the iconic bull -a totem- and Baco, the god of wine. Everyone in the city including locals and outsiders has a great time over these 9 days, a time that always seems to go by too fast.

In summary, San Fermin is an open, multitudinous festival, where you must book accommodations months in advance if you hope to go, and where the town's residents make visitors feel at home. During Los Sanfermines, Pamplona turns into the world capital of happiness, and you have to go discover why, when the festival ends at midnight on the 14th, everyone sings the sad farewell song called “pobre de mí” to express their longing for the next year to come:

"Pobre de mí, pobre de mí, que se han acabado las fiestas de San Fermín”
(“Poor me, poor me, the San Fermin festivities have ended”).