Brought to the attention of the English-speaking world by Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, Sanfermines is probably the most famous festival in Spain. This 9-day festival runs the same dates every year, from July 6-14 in the city of Pamplona, Spain.
According to historians, the Sanfermines were not born spontaneously but arose out of the combination of three separate fiestas: those of a religious nature in honor of San Fermín, the commercial fiestas organized from the XIVth century and the celebration of bulls which were centered on the bullfights. Originally, the fiesta San Fermin was held on October 10th, but has since changed to July 7th for chances of better weather.
From Wikipedia, “Its events were central to the plot of The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, which brought it to the general attention of English-speaking people. It has become probably the most internationally renowned fiesta in Spain. Over 1,000,000 people come to participate in this festival.”
Click here to read about our Top 10 Things about the San Fermin Festival
The Running of the Bulls
The bull run is the most well-known part of the Sanfermines festival, and it’s the reason why so many strangers make their way to Pamplona every July. Runners lead the group of bulls along an 825 meter stretch (half a mile) of walled-off streets. They begin the race from the Santo Domingo corrals to the bull ring, where the same bulls will later take part in a bull fight. A total of six bulls are “run” as well as two herds of tame bulls every day.
Runners gather at dawn before the streets close off, and a few minutes before the race starts they entrust themselves to San Fermín: “We ask San Fermín, as our Patron, to guide us through the Bull Run and give us his blessing.” The chant is repeated three times before the St. Fermin statue located on the Cuesta de Santo Domingo at the beginning of the route.
See our video compilation taken the Summer of 2013 here
Other Activities During San Fermín
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Fireworks every night of the festival
Marching bands (peñas)
Baby bulls after the encierro
Toro de Fuegos (fire bulls)