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The Sanfermines are special; they are Spain’s biggest festivities and are known worldwide. During these days the whole country forgets about their economic, social and political struggles, to concentrate on the famous bull running and to celebrate, dressed in red and white, in honor of San Fermin. Who was beheaded because of his faith and is now considered a martyr of the Roman Catholic Church.
The festivities began in the Middle Ages, but have become world famous in the 20th century, thanks to a very well-known American writer called: Ernest Hemingway. These religious festivities, which honor San Fermin, take place in the city of Pamplona, capital of Navarre. In the past the festivity was celebrated on October 10, but the locals decided to move it to July because of the bad weather in fall.
San Fermin occurs 6-14 of July; the festivity starts with the famous “Chupinazo” in which rockets are launched from the balcony city hall, and end on 14 July at midnight with and astonishing candle lit ceremony and the singing of the “Pobre de Mí,” in which they sing these words: “Poor me, poor me, for the fiesta of San Fermín has come to a close.”
Bulls are one of the Sanfermines most important characters. Every morning at 8 a.m. the bulls and the runners come together for the Encierro, which starts at the Corral on Santo Domingo Street. When the clock of the nearby San Cernin church announces its 8 a.m., two rockets are launched and the bulls are released and start chasing the runners for almost a kilometer, until they arrive at the bullring.
Ernst Hemingway, writer of the Old Man and the Sea, in 1923 experienced the Sanfermines for the first time, and they seem to have made a good impression on him, because he came back several times. Hemingway also wrote a serious of articles related to the festivity, and even a novel which takes place during the Sanfermines called The Sun Also Rises, which helped to make the Sanfermines worldwide renowned.
Fireworks are another attraction during the Sanfermines, every night of the festivity at 11 p.m. people gather around the old citadel of Pamplona, to enjoy the unique spectacle for half an hour. Since 2000 a firework competition takes place, with a jury and prizes, to see which firework firm does the best show.
The Sanfermines offer a lot of more attractions, it is a well-known fact that almost 1,000,000 people assist each year, it involves, besides the fireworks and the bulls, many traditional and folkloric events. The biggest day in the Sanfermines is 7 July, when thousands of people gather to accompany a replica of the Statue of San Fermin along the streets of the old part of the city. The statue of the saint is very well escorted by dancers and the famous Gigantes (giants). The Sanfermines are a celebration you should not miss if you have the opportunity to attend.