San Fermin Festival

Every July, thousands and thousands of people gather in Pamplona dressed head to toe in white clothing with red handkerchiefs around their necks.
“A San Fermín pedimos,
por ser nuestro patrón,
nos guíe en el encierro
dándonos su bendición”

We ask Saint Fermin,
Being our patron saint,
To guide us in the bull run
And give us his blessing

In 2018, more than one and a half million people visited Pamplona with one common goal: to celebrate the week of festivities known as Los Sanfermines or the Running of the Bulls.

The fiestas begin on July 6 with the launch of a firework rocket known as el chupinazo in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the same place where it all comes to an end on July 14.

During the days in between, bulls and humans alike run at top speeds through the city’s main streets on their way to the bullring. These are the world-famous bull runs or encierros.

A bull run is a race about 950 yards long that takes two to three minutes to run as long as nothing out of the ordinary happens. Around 2,000 people participate in each bull run, which makes running the entire route practically impossible.

The San Fermín festival was made famous by Ernest Hemingway when he included it in a scene from his novel The Sun Also Rises. Ever since, thousands of tourists set aside these days of the year to visit Pamplona and, while they’re at it, other parts of Spain.

The sheer number of people coming into the city means that nobody feels like they don’t belong. There’s always someone next to you from some far-flung part of the world. And since everyone wears white and dons a red handkerchief around their neck, no one feels out of place.

Sanfermines is also a religious festival dedicated to Saint Fermin, so you can expect to see a variety of processions throughout the city on July 7.

In summary, San Fermín is an open, multitudinous festival, and you’ll need to book accommodations months in advance if you hope to go. When you do, you’ll find that the town's friendly residents will make you feel at right at home.

Thanks to the world’s fascination with Spanish bull culture, all eyes are on Pamplona during the San Fermín festival.

The first day of the festival starts with the song written at the beginning of this article, and when the fiestas end, everyone gathers in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to sing together once more:

“¡Pobre de mí,
pobre de mí,
que se han acabado
las fiestas de San Fermín!”
Poor me,
Poor me,
For the fiestas of San Fermín
Have come to an end.
If you ever forget what day the Running of the Bulls begins, remember the famous song…
Uno de enero, dos de febrero, tres de marzo, cuatro de abril,
cinco de mayo, seis de junio, siete de julio ¡San Fermín!
First of January, second of February, third of March, fourth of April,
Fifth of May, sixth of June, seventh of July San Fermín!