The 7th of July is a big day in Pamplona, which is one of the popular cities on the Camino de Santiago route. July the 7th is the feast of San Fermin, the saint that gives name to one of Spain’s most famous ‘fiestas’.
Every year, thousands of excited locals and tourists dress in white and red frocks and ensembles in celebration of San Fermin, or San Fermines. The fiesta kick starts with a bang on 6th July at midday, when the ‘chupinazo’ rocket is launched from the towns centralized town hall to clear blue skies as the crowds chant ‘Viva San Fermin!’ (long live San Fermin).
Early the next San Fermin Day, 7th July, the main event takes it center stage in the streets of Pamplona. The running of the bulls across the city attracts people from every corner of the world. This dramatic, fiery and blood plumping race takes place every morning for a whole week. The dangerous, exhilarating and goosebumps inciting race is known as ‘encierro’ in Spanish. In short, the race involves hundreds of runners followed by the bulls run over 800 meters in just three minutes. You can only watch if you aren’t interested in running for your life. The race course is also fenced so no angry bull will swerve into the crowd purposely after fervently chasing after the crowd.
The adrenaline-pumping tradition has been taking place for hundreds of years, with some historians tracing the crazy festival all the back to the Middle Ages. Back then it was more of a religious celebration and market. Bull fighting was only introduced in the 14th century. The running of the bulls is the most fascinating aspect of the festival. What is more than seeing a bull chase a crowd of one hundred. The San Fermin celebration is highlighted by the presence of the bulls. It adds a distinct aura to the event. as
The city also hosts concerts, parades, food markets and traditional sports and dancing sessions. The day of reckoning comes on the 14th of July when the celebrations are officially closed July at midnight. The crowd gathers in conjugal sadness and despair as the crowds gather at the town hall with candles to sing ‘Pobre de mi’ (Poor me) and say goodbye to San Fermin. The song narrates “Pobre de mí, pobre de mí, que se han acabado las fiestas de San Fermín”
(“Poor me, poor me, San Fermin festivities have ended”).
After the congregational song the time comes pack away the white and red outfits. The crowds either drag themselves home or to their accommodations. The route to Camino is a great pilgrimage that is an exploration of one’s religious and cultural being. The festival of San Fremlin is all but one aspect of the beautiful and ethnicity of the beautiful Camino de Santiago route.