Due to COVID-19, some festivals may have been cancelled or rescheduled.

The San Fermines

The San Fermines
It celebrates: From 6th July to 14th July
Place: Pamplona/Iruña (Navarra)
Category: Bullfighting
Type: International
Popularity: (*****) 5/5
Organize: Pamplona City Council
Known start date: Since XII century
Figure of protection: Festival of International Tourist Interest
Reading time: 4 minutes and a half

The traditional festival of "San Fermín", is anawaited tourist festival of great international relevance, which is held in honor of San Fermin de Amiens and which is held annually in Pamplona, Spain. This traditional festival begins at noon on July 6th ending on the 14th of the same month.

The best of Sanfermines por eitb

What is the origin of this holiday?

The festival of San Fermin has its origin in medieval times. The party is celebrated in honor of San Fermín from the 12th century. It is from the year 1186 when the figure of the saint is taken from France to Spain.

Figure of San Fermín
Figure of San Fermín

This relic reaches the city of Pamplona where some representative religious acts of all that this saint suffered began to be held. Over time, other celebrations such as bullfights and the popular "Feria del Ganado" were added.

The fame that this festivity has gained internationally was thanks to a renowned writer named Ernest Hemingway, who wrote a book called Fiesta, where he describes in detail this popular festival that is celebrated every year in the city of Pamplona.

In recent years, this popular event has had a great role and where the participation of citizens is the most important and what guarantees the success of the festival.

What is the feast of the Sanfermines?

This popular festival, which represents an international event in Spain, begins on July 6 with the traditional "Chupinazo" and closes on July 14 with the "Pobre de mi".

The so-called "Chupinazo" is the rocket that is launched on the first day of the event, just at 12 o'clock at noon from the balcony of the Town Hall and which closes nine days later with the so-called "Pobre de mi".

An official act held in the main square of the city and where the Mayor of the Town Hall gives a speech to those present, to speak about the event and invite the next celebration, which will take place next year.

Folk dance festival in San Fermín
Folk dance festival in San Fermín

The main protagonist without a doubt, are the festival goers, who in a participative and interactive way can enjoy unique and truly unforgettable days in contact with people from different places.

An atmosphere full of music, dance and a lot of joy, which makes this party an event full of magic and that each year attracts the attention of thousands of tourists around the world.

What are the activities that take place during the festival?

San Fermines 2019 poster. The 2020 edition has been suspended because of COVID-19
San Fermines 2019 poster. The 2020 edition has been suspended because of COVID-19

This festival is characterized by developing some activities that make it a true party that invites participation, revelry and joy, among which are:

The Riau-Riau

It is an act that takes place on the 6th and where all the participants gather in the Town Hall Square to dance and sing the waltz called Riau Riau. It is carried out symbolically as a form of protest and criticism against authority.

The running of the bulls

It is a traditional festival in the city of Pamplona, which consists of moving 6 bulls to the main square, which will be fought. The running of the bulls stars one day after the party begins, to close with another running of the bulls that will be highlighted as the closure of the event.

Other activities

These days the troupes of the so-called Giants and Bigheads, the Kilikis, also come to the streets, which attract many people, as well as the parades. The famous fireworks competition and the popular bullfights are also held.

Kilikis and Zaldico, emblematic figures of the Sanfermines

They are giant dolls made of wood, fabric and cardboard that are very striking during the troupe and that due to their beauty attract the attention of adults and children.

These picturesque characters do not parade alone, they go out accompanied by the so-called "Cabezudos", followed by the troupers and the pipers who give the event greater visibility and interest.

The multi-colored fireworks party

Fireworks are one of the most anticipated events every night.
Fireworks are one of the most anticipated events every night.

The pyrotechnic party is also one of the most anticipated events every night for nine days. The light show lasts from 15 to 25 minutes approximately.

It is a totally free activity, since the City Council puts the money for the purchase of the pyrotechnic rockets.

Currently, fireworks are classified as an international contest that was established from the year 2000.The happy winner receives a metallic prize, which is around the figure of 5.000 euros, in addition to receiving a fabulous trophy.

But those who manage to reach the second and third place also take their cash, with a not inconsiderable amount, which ranges between approximately 2.500 and 1.500 euros.

Why is security important in celebrating this holiday?

Although it is a festivity that enjoys great prestige and for this reason, thousands of people from different parts of the world come to it every year, it is also considered an event that is in great danger.

This occurs because of the traditional event called the "Encierro", because every year an accident happens due to the presence of the bulls during the celebration.

Since this festival became part of the tradition of the Spanish people, some deaths have occurred during the Bullfight, the first happened in 1924. There has also been the fall of some spectators who watched the bullfight from the walls.

As a security measure, a logistics team is currently formed in which duly trained people participate to provide security and health care and thus prevent events as tragic as those that occurred in previous years.

Sanfermines 2020 suspended by COVID 19

The "Sanfermines" 2020 have been definitively suspended by Pamplona City Council. This has been due to the worldwide pandemic known as COVID 19, which has represented a real health emergency.

The suspension of this festival is not the only one, as the traditional “Fallas the Valencia” and other important fairs that take place every year in Spain have been cancelled.

For the fifth time, the "Sanfermines" in Pamplona will not bring together visitors and tourists from all over the world. This has not happened since 1938, when it also had to be suspended due to the Civil War.

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The San Fermines

From 6th July to 14th July
Pamplona/Iruña (Navarra)
Since XII century

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