San Fermín means the running of bull.
1. History of San Fermín
1.2. Medieval Period in the 19th century
1.3. Modern Times
2. Single Day Events
2.2. The Riau-Riau
2.3. San Fermín Procession
2.4. Pobre de mí
3. Daily events
3.1. Running of the bulls
3.2. Giants and big-heads parade
3.3. Traditional sports
The origin of the fiesta of San Fermín goes back to the middle Ages and is related to three celebrations: religious ceremonies in honor of San Fermín, which intensified from the 12th century onwards, trade fairs and bullfights, which were first documented in the 14th century. Initially, the fiesta San Fermín was held on October 10th, but in 1591 the people of Pamplona, fed up with the bad weather at that time of year, decided to transfer the fiesta to July so it would coincide with the Fair. This is how the San Fermines were born. It initially lasted two days and had a pregón (opening speech), musicians, a tournament, theatre and bullfights. Other events were added later, such as fireworks and dances, and the fiesta lasted until July 10th. Chronicles from the 17th and 18th centuries tell us of religious events together with music, dance, giants, tournaments, acrobats, bull runs and bullfights, and the clergy's concern at the excessive drinking and dissolute behavior of young men and women. They also refer to the presence of people from other lands, whose shows "made the city more fun". In the 19th century there were curious fairground attractions such as a woman fired from a cannon, exotic animals or wax figures, while the Comparsa de Gigantes (parade of giants) had new carnival figures with big heads, kilikis and zaldikos. Furthermore, the absence of a double fence in the bull run meant that the bulls escaped on several occasions and ran around the city streets.
(1.1) Medieval period to the 19th century
Statues dedicated to San Fermín festival, in Pamplona
The celebration of the festival has its origin in the combination of two different medieval events.Commercial secular fairs were held at the beginning of the summer. As cattle merchants came into town with their animals, eventually bullfighting came to be organized as a part of the tradition. Specifically, they were first documented in the 14th century. On the other hand religious ceremonies honoring the saint were held on October 10. However in 1591 they were transferred to the 7th of July to take place at the same time than the fair; when Pamplona's weather is better. This is considered to be the beginning of the San Fermines. At that time they lasted two days but they were extended until the 10th and nowadays endure until the 14th. During medieval times acts included an opening speech, musicians, tournaments, theater, bullfights, dances or even fireworks. Bull running appears in 17th and 18th century chronicles together with the presence of foreigners and the first concerns on the excessive drinking and dissolute behavior during the event. The Giant's Parade was created by the end in the mid of the 19th century. The first official bullring was constructed in 1844.
The worldwide fame of the modern festival, and the great number of foreign visitors it receives every year, are closely related to the description by Ernest Hemingway's book The Sun Also Rises] and his job as a journalist. He was greatly amused in his first visit in 1923 coming back many times until 1959. Hemingway was also deeply fond of bull running and bullfights. Different city locations are famous in part due to the fact that the writer used to visit them, such as the La Perla hotel, or the Iruña café.
(2)Single day events
The opening of the...