Cultural Celebrations Across Spain: San Fermín

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Cultural Celebrations Across Spain: San Fermín

The festival of ‘San Fermín’ is a popular celebration that takes place in Pamplona, the capital of Navarra, in the north of Spain. It was originated during the medieval times as a religious celebration in honor of Saint Fermín de Amien.

The festivities start on the 6th of July at 12:00 and the opening is marked by setting off the pyrotechnic ‘Chupinazo’ in the ‘Plaza del Ayuntamiento’.  The mayor of  the city designates the person that will launch the rocket from the balcony of the City Hall in front of thousands of people awaiting for the party to begin. After the festival has begun the ‘Riau- Riau’ parade will march from the City Hall to a chapel dedicated to Saint Fermín. On the next day, the 7th, people will accompany the 15th century statue of Saint Fermín through the old part of Pamplona. During that procession a traditional  dance called ‘Jota’ is performed.

The 7th is Saint Fermín’s day it’s the most important day of the festivities. In addition, the running of the bulls will be held every single morning at 7am from that day until the 14th. This event involves hundreds of people running in front of six bulls down the narrow streets of a section of the city for approximately a mile. The run ends in the bullring where later in the afternoon a bullfight will be held.

Following the running of the bulls, the city holds different cultural activities such as traditional sports (stone lifting, wood cutting and Basque pelota) and a parade of ‘Gigantes and Cabezudos’ which consist of 8 giants and big-heads that dance.

Finally, every night at 11pm there is a firework display that is held at the citadel park. Thousands of people watch this every night until the 14th, when there is no firework show but instead the closing of the festivities takes place.

The ‘Pobre de mí’ marks the ending of the festival at midnight on the 14th. People once again meet in the City Hall Plaza and as they sing the traditional song ‘Pobre de mí’ and lit candles, the ceremonies come to an end with a final rocket launched this time by the mayor of the city.

About Author

Naiara Lopez

Naiara Lopez

Third-year student at the Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA) in Spain. Currently an exchange student in the University of Georgia studying Marketing and International business in the Terry College of Business.

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