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THE FEASTS OF SAN FERMÍN AND THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS – PAMPLONA, SPAIN

Pamplona, a city that was founded in the 1st century by the Romans, is the capital city of the Northern Spanish Autonomous Community of Navarra, at the Basque Country; it is the located in the center of the Community.

The most know festival of the city is the feasts of “San Fermín” that happens every year between 6 and 14 of July, and one of the most important events of those feasts are the “Running of the Bulls”.

For those who wish to assist to the festival of “San Fermín” and to the event “Running of the Bulls” it will be very useful to have a GPS navigation with free map updates to avoid to be lost in the bustle that always arise during the festival and mainly during the event with the bulls.

The festival of “San Fermín” is celebrated in honor of “San Fermín” that tighter with St. Francis Xavier is one of the patrons of Navarre; according to the legend Fermín was the son of a Roman Senator that converted itself to the Christianity in the 3rd century and that is nowadays considered one of the martyrs Catholic Church.

The origins of the festival of “San Fermín” go back to the medieval period when two different events happened – commercial fairs with traditional bullfights in the summer season and religious ceremonies in October; the first historical records of the festivals are dated from the 14th century.

In 1591 those events were both transferred to July when the weather is more pleasant and the festival became famous worldwide because it is the theme of the books of the American writer Ernest Hemingway, “The Sun Also Rises” and “Death in the Afternoon”, when he visited Pamplona for the first time in 1923 as a journalist; it is probably the most famous festival in Spain that has more than one million visitors.

Nowadays the events of the feasts of “San Fermín” are the “Chupinazo”, the opening of the festival that consists in the launch of a rocket at noon of the 6 of July; the “Riau-Riau” that happens also in the 6 of July, a parade of the members of the city council, from the City Hall to the chapel dedicated to “San Fermín”; the “San Fermín procession” on the 7 of July; the “Strudendo” an event that is not celebrated in the same day, with more than 50 years of tradition, but that is usually celebrated on a weekday, where the participants make as much noise as they can, using several type of objects for that purpose; and the “Pobre de mí” that happens on the last day of the feasts (14 of July) at midnight, where the inhabitants of Pamplona meet at the Town Hall Square, singing the traditional song “Pobre de mí” that means in English “Poor me”, closing the festival.

Besides the “Running of the Bulls” it is possible to assist daily to are the “Parade of Giants and Big-Heads” (since the 19th century), traditional sports, like the stone lifting, wood cutting and hay bale lifting, bullfight and fireworks.

The “Running of the Bulls”, which first records in the feasts date from the 17th and 18th centuries (although this practice began in Spain in the 14th century) and this event also happens during all the days of the festival, has its origin in the need of transportation of the bulls from the corrals to the bullring, where the bullfight take place.

In this event that starts at 8:00 am and that is announced by a firecracker, hundreds of people run in front of six fighting bulls and six oxen in an extension of 825 meters, and during approximately 3 minutes, through the narrow streets of the old area of the city, until the bullring, just for fun.

This is a dangerous event and every year there are records of wounded persons and even deaths.

 

Usually there are some shepherds to guide the bulls and there is a protection of barricades made of wood or iron within the streets where the bulls passes and where thousands of people assist to the event.

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