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"Las sanfermines" (Navarra)

Thanks to Ernest Hemingway, the "sanfermines" are known all over the world. Hemingway became fascinated by this fiesta during his first visit to Pamplona in 1920. He describes the amazing atmosphere that surrounds these fiestas held in honour of the city's patron saint, San fermin, in a series of widely read books.

sanfermin.gif (40745 bytes) "San Fermin" is the Patron Saint of the drunks.

By midnight on July 6th Pamplona is already swarming with locals and tourists all waiting for the firework display that marks the start of the fiesta.

The running of the bulls is held the 7th - 13th of July every year with the "vispera" or night before the start being the most exciting night of the week -well worth a visit !

The day begins with the "encierro" or running of the bulls, when only the brave and foolish dash ahead of the bulls that are let loose to run through the narrow streets to the bullring where they will be fought later in the day. The runners are usually clad in the typical white trousers and shirt, with a red scarf tied at their neck, and a red beret on their head.

Before and after the daily bullfights, held each evening at 6p.m., bands of music, "txistularis", regional dancing and processions with big giant heads roam the streets.

The Sanfermines festival of the running of the bulls in Pamplona is not the only one celebrated in Navarra, although it is the most well-known.

San Fermin is venerated in other places, such as Lesaka, in the Regata del Bidadosa, where the special dances play an important part in the festivities. Perhaps the most outstanding of them is the zuhigaineko or dance over the bridge, which is performed on the bridge that clears the river Onin. The dance commemorates a peace treaty signed in the fifteenth century between rival districts of Lesaka. The route of the dancers (ezpatadantzaris) through the streets; the strength and vigor of their performances. as well as the beauty of the mutil dantza, esku dantza, aurresku, jotas and other dances fill this show of Navarran folklore with body and flavour.