Also referred to as the “Running of the Bulls”, the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona is an annual event that commences at noon on the 6th of July. When the starting time of the festival is approaching, thousands of individuals begin congregating in the town square as they anxiously await the Mayor’s announcement to start the fiestas. Although the history of the festival is somewhat cloudy, there is evidence to indicate that celebratory events took place as far back as the 13th century on October 10th which coincided with the festival.
photo by LpstkLibrarian
It would appear that the celebration that takes place now along with bullfighting fiestas date back to the 14th century. In its earlier beginnings, the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona was primarily a religious event, but it became more and more diluted by bullfighting, dancing, music, and street markets. Eventually the Pamplona Council decided that the festival should be moved to the 7th of July when the weather was more conducive to celebrating outdoors. To this day, the festival starts at noon on the 6th of July every year.
The first official celebration of San Fermin took place in 1591. It signified the joining together of the bullfighting, commercial, and religious festivals as well as moving the festival to the 7th of July. The inaugural festival was little more than a low key affair that only lasted a couple of days compared to today’s festival and the Running of the Bulls. Despite how brief the festival was initially, it still featured with a bullfight, music, and a procession. Dancing and fireworks were added while the festival was extended to the 10th.
According to historical chronicles of the day, there is evidence to support that foreigners began attending the event during the 17th and 18th centuries. The event became a great concern to the clergy of the day as they were extremely concerned about the permissiveness of the younger men and women of the day as well as the abuse of drink. The onset of bull running, dancing, drinking, music, and street theater meant that religion had taken a back seat to the festivities at hand.
Today, there is an exciting combination of daily and single day events to enjoy if you vacation in Pamplona, Spain during the San Fermin Festival. Daily events include bullfighting, fireworks, giants and big-heads parades, the Running of the Bulls, and traditional sporting events. The single day events that you don’t want to miss include the Chupinazo (opening day fireworks ceremony), the “Poor Me” (Pobre de Mí) event, the Riau-Riau (mass on the 6th), and the San Fermin procession (7th of July).
For more information on the event in 2012 and purchasing tickets, consult the official guide to the fiesta of San Fermin.
Hotels in Pamplona
Hotel Husa Noain
Average Price: €34
Average Rating: 7.8
Hotel Bed4u Pamplona
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Gestión de Alojamientos Rooms-Guest House
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