el dia de los sanfermines

el dia de los
El Dia de los
Madelyn Beavers and Jessica Dorgan
Madelyn Beavers and Jessica Dorgan
Saint Fermin
• The celebration is in honor of Saint Fermin, an ordained
priest who was beheaded in Amiens, France while on a
preaching voyage. Because of this, he became a known
as a martyr of the Catholic church.
• The celebration originated from two different
medieval events. In the 14th century, commercial fairs
were held annually at the beginning of the summer,
and as cattle merchants entered the towns, bullfighting
became a tradition. Religious ceremonies to honor
Saint Fermin were held on October 10th. However, in
1591, the religious ceremonies were transferred to July
7th, taking place the same time as the fair, when the
weather was better. The combination of the two
traditions marked the beginning of El Dia De Los
El Dia De San Fermines is celebrated annually from
12:00 P.M. July 6th through midnight July 14th. It is a
street festival celebrated in Pamplona, Spain. It is
celebrated by over 100,000 Pamplonians and visitors
every year.
Who, Where, When
The beginning of the festivals is
marked by the launching of a
rocket called the chupinazo. It is
launched off the balcony of a city
hall with thousands of people
celebrating below. The city mayor
decides who sets off the rocket
every year. The launcher is
usually a member of a political
party or important member of the
community (sports figure, etc.)
• The Riau-Riau is held on July 6th. Members of the city
hall would parade from the city hall to a chapel that was
dedicated to Saint Fermin, dancing to the Austrian Waltz
along the way. This tradition began in 1911, but was
removed from the festival in 1992 because of political
activists began to use the event as a chance to clash with
political authorities. However in recent years, the RiauRiau has been attempted unofficially with no participation
from the political authorities.
• The procession is arguably the key point of the festival.
It is held on July 7th, as thousands of people parade
through the streets with a 15th century statue of Saint
Fermin. Dancers and entertainers accompany the crowds.
Saint Fermin Procession
• El Struendo is always held on different days of the week
and is not openly advertised to the public in order to keep
the crowds manageable. Crowds gather at 11:59 P.M. in
the town hall , bringing drums and instruments of choice,
and make as much noise as possible for several hours.
El Struendo (the Roar)
• The running of the bulls happens daily throughout
the festival. It consists of hundreds of people
running in front of six bulls and six steers down a
half-mile stretch of a narrow street in Pamplona.
The run ends in a bull ring where the bulls are held
until the afternoon’s bullfight. This event is very
dangerous. Since 1925, 15 people have been
reported dead from the event, with hundreds
receiving injuries.
Running of the bulls
• A firework spectacle is held every night of the
festival in citadel park. Since the year 2000,
national firework contest have been held at the
• In order to honor Saint Fermin,
thousands of members of the
festival dress in traditional allwhite clothing with red
handkerchiefs around the necks.
The red hendkerchiefs have
been a part of the festival since
it’s beginning, and symbolize
the blood shed by Saint Fermin
as he was a martyr. The
immaculate white clothing
however, was not adopted until
the 60s when it was encouraged
by the mayor of the time.
The Giants and big
• Everyday of the festival, eight figures are paraded
throughout the streets. The giant figures are known as
gigantes y cabezudos, and are representative of queens
and kings of various races.
• Following days of festivals, crowds gather in the town
hall Plaza on midnight on July 14th. The city mayor
closes the festivities with a candle-lighting ceremony.
Crowds sing a song called “Pobre de mi.” They finalize
the ending of the ceremonies by removing their red
• “Pobre de mi, Pobre de mi, que se han acabado las fiestas
de San Fermin”- (poor me, poor me, the San Fermin
festivities have ended.)
Fireworks- Fuegos Artificales
Pamploneses- People from Pamplona
Encierro- the running with the bulls
Religious ceremonies- ceremonias religiosas
Folkloric events- eventos folcloricos
Traditional- tradicional
Tourists- Turistas
Festival/party – fiesta
Bullfight- la corrida de toros
Basque Folklore- Folklore vasco
Parade- desfile
Handkerchief- panuelo
Poor me- pobre de mi
Steer- dirigir
Bull- toro
giants and big heads- gigantes y cabezudos
Martyr- mártir
El dia de los Sanfermines could be
closely compared to the Mardi Gras
parade in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The two celebrations are similar
because they are both mainly street
parades and are celebrated in
specific cities as opposed to entire
countries or nations. Mardi Gras
celebrations last about two weeks,
which is similar to the nine days of
celebration for el dia de los
Sanfermines. Both celebration bring
in thousands of visitors from around
the world. The parades also both
result in an extreme increase in
crime during the celebrations.
During Mardi Gras, the colors
purple, green, and gold and
displayed proudly by most who
participate, similarly to the white
and red of el dia de los Sanfermines.
Compare and Contrast
• What is the significance of the red handkerchiefs worn by
participants during el dia de los Sanfermines?
• What is the religious importance of el Dia de los Sanfermines?
• El Dia de los Sanfermines has grown to be a widely
controversial celebration throughout the world. Why do you
think the celebration faces such controversy?
• Why was the Riau-Riau an opportune chance for political
activists to display their opposition toward political authority?
• Why is El Struendo held on different days of the week every
year? What do you think would happen if the event were
advertised openly to all of the public?
Test Questions
• don quijote. (1996). Retrieved from
• Running of the bulls. (2010). Retrieved from
• Butcher, L. (1999). The festival of San Fermin: Tradition,
entertainment or cruelty?. Animals Today, 7(2), 17.

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