From 6th to 14th of July the small city Pamplona transforms itself each year to the greatest festival of Spain called San Fermín. While the streets of Pamplona more than triple their visitors, most of them don’t know that two independent celebrations are taking place during this festival.
It all began in the third century A.D. with a man named San Fermín who got converted by a French Bishop to learn more about Christianity and who left his home Pamplona to become a bishop in Toulouse. His enthusiasm to spread the word as well as his cruel dead through torture and decapitation made him popular together with some of his relics which made their way back to Pamplona in the middle ages. Since the 12th century processions in his honor are held around the old part of Pamplona.


source: por solea

source: san fermin

While religious acts in honor of San Fermin have been part of the celebrations before the 12th century, the tradition of bull running evolved in the 14th century. Bull minders, who shepherd the bulls up to the bullrings, have been joined by young butchers to entice the bulls forward. Over the time, men began to run in front of the animals instead of remaining behind them and the tradition of bull running was born. The only connection to the religious part is the homily the runners sing in the morning to implore their protection.

source: El Periódico

While Pamplona’s fiesta has been loved by Spaniards over hundreds of years, international recognition was reached in 1926 thanks to the outstanding American writer Ernest Hemingway and the publication of his book The sun also rises dealing with the celebration of San Fermín. Many other celebrities such as Orson Welles, Ava Gardner and Arthur Miller have followed in Hemingway’s footsteps over the years.

source: jot down

Nowadays, San Fermín is loved and known all over the world as a great party with good vibes which offers a wide variety of special events at different times of the day and night. The celebrations of San Fermín start at noon on the sixth of July with a rocket which is launched from a city hall balcony and ends with the singing of Pobre de Mí at midnight on the fourteenth of July. Starting with the sound of “Viva San Fermín, Gora San Fermín” and ending with the song on the fourteenth of July, locals wear the famous red scarf on their neck to honor San Fermín and/or as a custom of the city of Pamplona.


source: Eye on Spain

The unique holidays are especially renowned for its bull running over an 875 meter course where participants run with six fighting bulls accompanied by six tamed bell oxen through the narrow streets to the bullring of Pamplona. While the San Fermín Festival starts every morning at 8 o’clock with the famous Running of the Bulls which lasts normally not longer than 5 minutes, the event offers so much more. Many other traditional and folkloric events such as competitions in different traditional sports like stone lifting, wood cutting, or hay bale lifting, spectacular fireworks every night and daily parades of gigantes y cabezudos make San Fermín to the most internationally renowned festival in Spain.

source: Erasmus Republik

Due to the great weather conditions in Pamplona in July and the lack of seats in bars for everybody, San Fermín is celebrated mostly on the streets. By dancing, singing or having a chat on the streets, you are already part of the community.
The streets are especially crowded during the famous Running of the Bulls in the mornings. Although, the participation is free and there is no need to sign up, no faces are lost by not joining this risky event. Stay on the safe side and watch the Running of Bulls behind the fencing along the route or from a seat in the bullring. While most people start to scramble for a good spot at 5:30 to 6:00 AM, the best views are from one of the many balconies which line the course and can be rented during the run!


source: El Pais

If you got interested in becoming part of the best festival of the year, do not hesitate to contact us!