All Posts Tagged ‘San Fermín





I took this picture last year July 6th shortly after noon in Pamplona, Spain. The San Fermin Fiesta had Just began. This young man with the traditional white clothes and the red bandana, comes from the city hall square, jubilant after the proclamation of the beginning of the celebrations that will continue for a week in the city.






I hate crowds. I need to see space around me ,and if not, a clear way to go out. This is why I usually don’t go to the Chupinazo that marks the beginning of San Fermin in Pamplona. But I miss it. I would like to be there to in the city hall square every July 6th at noon when they launch the rocket and everybody shouts Viva San Fermin!
Till that moment, everybody, clothed in white, wait holding up the red bandanas they will wear around their necks as soon as the pyrotechnic rocket explodes as a sign that they are taking part of the fiesta. All the square is white and red. Is really something worth to see.
I used to go with my friends when I was young until one year I felt my breath was failing me because of the crowd squeezed me. So I retreated to the street of Mercaderes and went to the Castillo’s square.
But now is an event for very young people. There is too much people and there is no way to enter the square. Besides now the youngsters have fun throwing each other wine and even flour and eggs, so the place is a mess, and the traditional white clothes with red bandanas finish awfully dirty, all pink from the wine and yellow from the eggs. You can always watch the spectacle comfortably from a balcony, if you’re lucky. Or from home thru TV.
I don’t like that. I prefer the memory of my young days when there was fewer people and it was possible to participate. I made a sketch of that previous moment when everybody is holding their bandana up waiting for the chupinazo chanting: San Fermin! San Fermin!


Color your World – Macaroni and Cheese – The giant and the pacifiers



Here, in Pamplona, the Giants are a very important part of our renowned fiesta of San Fermin. (Not everything goes around the bulls and the famous run). Every morning the Giants go out to dance in the streets. They are enormous hollow figures with a wooden structure. Inside, covered by the costume of the figure, there is a man who walks and dances. It’s difficult to do so because the giants are tall and heavy and is tricky to keep the balance. They represent the queens and kings of the continents and were made in the XIX century. When they go out, thousands of kids and grown ups enjoy the parade and the music, and the dance in the streets.


There is a tradition, and it is that the little kids that are trying to quit their pacifiers, promise to do so by giving their pacifier to one of the giants during the fiesta. So every day you can see parents talking to their kids and how every giant finally collects a lot of pacifiers, like the one of the picture.

I chose these pictures I took last summer because I think the costume of the Giant and some of the pacifiers have today’s color.

Color Your World – Macaroni and Cheese





This is a detail of the Pamplona’s city hall facade at noon. Every year the sixth of July, this clock at this hour, marks the beginning of the worldwide known Fiesta of San Fermín.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”


From Every Angle


This week, photograph a stationary subject from three different angles.

I have taken pictures of the giants that dance in our streets for the enjoyment of children and grown ups during our Fiesta. Here are three different angles.

From Every Angle


Delightful Dance



She was the prettiest in the neighbourhood. With her blonde hair, her blue eyes and her graceful figure. But she was very shy. She had a demanding mom, who was very aware of the social conventions and didn’t let her go out with boys. She had to come back home straight after school and learn to sew and embroider and things like that, useful for a future lady of her home, according to her mother. But she dreamed awake that one day she would escape and meet her charming prince, the love of her life, like Cinderella.

When she was eighteen and her city was in the middle of the Fiesta of San Fermin, she went out with her father to the street with a white dress and a red bandana. There was joy, music and people dancing everywhere. Right there in front of her house in the old city of Pamplona, a handsome young man, also dressed in white with his red bandana, without telling a word, took her for her waist and began to dance with her. Her father smiled and said nothing. They danced and danced at the sound of the trumpets and trombones. They laughed and talked and he said she was the prettiest and smartest girl he had met.

He was her only love. They lived together 53 years. Each year, the day of San Fermin, they always went to the same corner to dance at the sound of the street music. Seven years ago he passed away, and she went to a nursing home. From then, San Fermin day, was for her a sad and gloomy day, remembering her lost prince, and she remained in her room, while others were celebrating the Fiesta.

This year, she decided to make a nostalgic walk. When the nurses were no aware, she took her cane, escaped, and went all dressed in white with a red bandana towards the old city of Pamplona. The streets over there were full of people celebrating the Fiesta. It was difficult going thru to reach her narrow street and her beloved corner. When she arrived she almost began to cry. A small band was playing dance music just there. With tears in her eyes she began to follow the rhythm of this with her feet. Suddenly a young man took her and began to dance with her. She let him do, and danced laughing and crying at the same time. Oh my prince! Are you seeing me?

Title taken from the  Topic generator.

Nothin’ But A Good Time.


Good people

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If you could pick one person to be commemorated on a day dedicated to him/her alone, who would you choose?

All the people who share their time to make others happy.

This is a man who dances inside the “giant” standing behind him during the fiesta of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain. While others are having fun, he is going around dancing inside the giant to amuse kids. Today he and his companions went to a nursing home to perform a special dance for the elderly. They had a great time. Smiles and laughs everywhere. It was worth to see it. Good people.

gigante y su danzante (1 of 1)



San Fermin

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Yesterday I posted some pictures about the Fiesta of San Fermin, with people bathed in wine after the launch of the rocket that marks the beginning of the celebration. Today I will show another face of the Fiesta, the one properly dedicated to San Fermín, the patron saint of Pamplona, Spain.

Hundreds of thousands came this morning to my neighbourhood to see the procession of the image of the saint thru the streets and sing to him typical songs known as “jotas” in a great show of popular devotion. This time everybody was clean and most of the people were families with kids. with the procession goes out the so-called “comparsa” of giants and big-heads to entertain the kids. In one of the pictures you can see one of the giants dancing. A man inside the wooden structure of the giant performs the dance, which is pretty difficult.




My city has burst today in its Fiesta of San Fermín. Exactly at noon, a fireworks rocket launched from the balcony of the City Hall in front of a square packed with people literally bathed in wine, marked the beginning of eight days and nights of festivities, street music and many more amusements. During this week everybody will be dressed in white with red bandanas. The first Run of the Bulls will happen tomorrow 8:00 AM. It seems that the population (usually of 250,000 people) will reach more than a million these days with all the tourists.

This is a group of people going towards the city hall square before the launching of the rocket or “Chupinazo” who signals the beginning go the Fiesta. (Notice how clean  and calm they are)

Hacia el Chupinazo

…And this is a group in the same street coming back from the city hall square after the fiesta has begun.



Don’t You Forget About Me.




If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

Summer has just began so I can’t say much about its highlights. I have no exciting plans for this season other than survive the fiesta of San Fermin and continue taking care of my mom. I have no plans to travel. I’ll stay in the city. Life will have a lot of entertainment during the week of the festival when hundreds of thousands of tourists and visitors will come to celebrate with us, and take part or watch the Running of the Bulls and all the other festive acts programmed.  After that crazy week, we will stay alone. The streets empty and silent. At least, some peace.  This year, the summer will have an intense political activity because after the fiesta of San Fermin the autonomic  Parliament has to choose the new government and there is no yet an agreement among the political parties about the program for the next four years. All indicates that the next government will be in hands of the basque nationalists. A radical change from the last legislature. Let’s see what happens. This is one of the highlights of my summer: a potted flower blooming in my patio.


In the Summertime.



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Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.

When my brother celebrated his first communion, some forty years ago, we had to rent his suit because we had no money to buy a new one. It was, as is traditional in Spain a sailor suit, all white with some trimmings in blue. After the ceremony we went all together to have a nice breakfast in a café close to the church with our friends. We ordered hot chocolate. Of course my brother ruined his suit with chocolate stains and my mom had to wash it before returning it to the store. But we had a wonderful day, playing and laughing all together. We used to go with my parents on Saturdays to another café called “Delights” where the hot chocolate was a speciality. I remember teaching to my younger sister her first words in Spanish there taking advantage of some decorations and drawings they had on the walls. I used to have strong migraines and my doctors said chocolate could be bad for my headaches. But I didn’t care. Mom used to make delicious chocolate cakes for feast days when we gathered  around the table and had the most fabulous get together. Hot chocolate and “churros” is a typical breakfast in San Fermin Fiesta after the running of the bulls. The chocolate scent brings me remembrances of feast days, of a happy childhood and of good friends. I like it.

Smell You Later.


San Fermin Fiesta

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Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.

If you come to my city the 6th of July you’ll witness the explosion of the fiesta that Hemingway described in his novel . Exactly at noon, from the balcony of the city hall, the mayor or one of the councilors fires a rocket after saying “Viva San Fermín!” and at the sound of the rocket, thousands of people, dressed in white, holding red bandanas, who were waiting in the square and the streets, put their bandanas around their necks, and start to dance and sing… and drink. The fiesta officially has begun and will last till the 14th of July at midnight. Everybody goes around in white and red during the fiesta in honour of the saint patron of the city.
The Fiesta is internationally known by its encierros or the Running of the Bulls. Each morning from the 7th of July to the 14th, at 8:00 am it begins the running with the release of six bulls with six oxen at the pen of Santo Domingo to run after thousand of runners through delimited streets till the bullring situated 826 meters apart.
In its origins the run was the way they had to guide the bulls from the pen to the bullring. Now thousands of runners from all the world take part of the run.
But they have to be carefull because the run is dangerous and take in consideration some rules:
– Don’t run under the influx of alcohol or drugs. Is very dangerous and you’ll get fined.
– Don’t run in the opposite direction or behind the bulls.
– Don’t stop along the run or do anything that can harm other runners.
– Don’t block the fences.
– Don’t take pictures or videos while running (this is very important to stress nowadays).
– Don’t do anything to get the attention of the bull. Don’t touch it or hit it.
– Don’t carry objects improper for the run
– Wear an appropriate footwear.
– Don’t even try running if you’re not fit.
It’s impossible to do the whole distance. The bulls run at an average of 24 km per hour. Usually a runner only can do a small part of the distance. The runners usually choose the section of the street they want to run. Specially critical are the beginning and the end.

OK, Enough with bulls. I understand is the main attraction of my city, but despite I have lived here for a long, long time, I don’t like it. As a reporter I’ve written for years about the wounded on the run. I have seen what the bulls can do to a runner and is not pretty. Plus, I don’t like what they do to the bulls afterwards in the bullring.

There is an event the 7th of July, the day of San Fermin followed by thousands of people, that is worth it to see: The procession with the saint through the streets of the old quarter with the Mayor and all the councilors, the bishop and the cathedral chapter, the music band and the so-called “comparsa de gigantes y cabezudos” or group of giants and big-heads. There is music and joy and the giants dance now and then. The giants are very tall puppets ( about 4 meters) representing kings and queens of different races made in the XIX century. They have a wooden structure where a hidden man makes them walk and dance.

During the procession, choirs and particulars sing traditional “jotas” to the saint. There is joy and colour everywhere.

Local Flavor.





Humanity is also about people enjoying a feast like this group of parents and children watching the dancing “giants” during the “Fiesta” of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain





The most beloved relic in my town



This is the image of San Fermín venerated in Pamplona, Spain. It contains relics of the saint martyr in its chest. The image is a 15th century bust of the saint. Every year there is a procession followed by thousands of people the 7th of July. Many of  runners of the running of the bulls use to ask for protection to this saint before putting themselves before the bulls each morning during the  fiesta. This is the most beloved relic in my town.



Accent from Pamplona


Write about whatever you’d like, but write using regional slang, your dialect, or in your accent.

What a difficult one!  To write in my regional slang I must use Spanish, and I don’t know how to put in writing my English accent. How do you write the English of a Spanish mixed with a little Croatian speaking person? To write about whatever I’d like would be not easy because I’m blocked lately. I was hopping for a more inspiring prompt. At least I’m looking forward to read todays posts by my fellow bloggers. I’m sure it will be one of these days you learn a lot reading you.

Because today’s prompt is about local, the only thing I can think about is telling you about the place I live in. Pamplona. A city in the North of Spain, capital of the ancient kingdom of Navarre. Although is internationally known because of the running of the bulls during the San Fermin Festival every year in July, it has other interesting features. The city has its name after the roman general Pompey considered its founder back in the first century BC. We have in our local museum Roman art, mosaics and other remains of those years. It was also important city in the Middle Ages with a rich history. You can see it by the gothic cathedral and churches. Even today is a main stage in the Way of St. James or Camino de Santiago receiving every year thousands of pilgrims. It’s a University town with a very good health care system. People are friendly and nice (a little stubborn when they want, they say) and they love to cook delicious food.  So Pamplona is much more than San Fermin and the Fiesta Hemingway portrayed so vividly in his novel that put our city in the international map.

Daily Prompt: Non-Regional Diction.
More dialectal posts by other bloggers on the next page:


Giant queens



The Fiesta in Pamplona is not only the running of the bulls, we have entertainment in the streets day and night for kids too. Kids love the “giants” This is one of them, the Queen of Europe, dancing for them in my street. A man specially trained is inside the wooden structure of the “giant” and makes her dance. There are eight of them representing the kings and queens of Europe Asia, Africa and America, and they are very old (They were made more than 150 years ago). They even have some ancient choreographed dances they perform in squares big enough to them. I like them.


Another Giant Queen dancing.

Daily Prompt: Opposite Day.

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A picture from Pamplona



This is a picture my friend Pachi Calleja captured this morning after the running of the bulls in Pamplona. When the run finished a young man who entered the Arena with the bulls turned and….. This only can happen in Pamplona.

Daily Prompt: Singular Sensation.

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Lazy bones, sleeping in the sun



My city, Pamplona, is deep in its Fiesta. All day and night music and noise in the streets. No way to rest. A music band can pass under your window at 3 am as if it was 6 pm and you have to learn to live with the Fiesta and your everyday duties and activities at the same time.

I have to take care of my mother seriously ill and I’m struggling with depression. I’m sad and tired. It’s a harsh contrast with what you see on the streets. Everybody happy, apparently without worries, having fun, and I unable  and not willing to take part in that frenzy joy. Hurrying from one side to another to have everything done, and then pretending to participate somehow in the festival, because you can’t ignore it if you are in the street.

To calm myself a little, I use to listen at a CD called Having fun with Bing and Louis that have some records of old Bing Crosby radio programs with Louis Armstrong as a guest, really funny, but peaceful. Here is one of my favorite songs they perform hilariously saying what I would like to do today 🙂

Lazybones, sleeping in the sun

How you ‘spect to get your day’s work done?
Never get your day’s work done
Sleeping in the new day’s sun

Lazybones, sleeping in the shade
How you ‘spect to get your cornmeal made?
You’ll never get your cornmeal made
Just sleeping in the evening shade

When ‘taters need spraying I bet you keep praying
The bugs fall off the vine
And when you go fishing, I bet you keep wishing
The fish won’t grab your line

Lazybones, loafing through the day
How you ‘spect to get a dime that way?
Never make a dime that way
Never heard a word I say

PS. I realize I have been negative about my city’s Fiesta. I’m sorry. I don’t want you to think it’s a bad idea to come to know it. Is something really worth to see. The problem is I’m not in a mood and I don’t like noise and big concentrations of people. I prefer solitude and silence and normal, everyday life.

Daily Prompt: Earworm.

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The Bull and Mom

The running of the bulls in Pamplona

The running of the bulls in Pamplona

It have been raining. The floor was slippery and that was dangerous. The street, packed with people watching the running of the bulls. It was Sunday.

Javier was a young man but a veteran runner. He didn’t like to run on Sundays because of the amount of people who make the run more difficult. Is almost impossible to find a place near the bulls to run and is dangerous because is easy to stumble and fall.

But that year he had no other chance because he had a job in Madrid and couldn’t come to Pamplona any other day. So he decided to run.

And there he was in Estafeta Street like always, waiting for the bulls, adrenalin boiling in his body as the beasts approached. And he jumped into the center of the street to situate himself in front of the horns.

When he decided it was enough to retire, he counted and realized one bull was missing so he tried to jump behind the barricades to avoid another run. But there were so many people that they didn’t make room for him.

The theory says that if you lay still like a sand bag, the bull will ignore you. So Javier, rejected by the people, unable to reach the safety of the barricade, decided to lay on the floor glued to the wall of stone of one of the houses and wait to the bull to pass, but with the bad luck that the bull slipped and fell looking at him. He felt the breathing of the bull and thought: Javier, you are history.

The bull charged against him, lifted him and throw him once. Javier, trapped between the bull and the wall,  acted as a sand bag and fell like a dead weight. the bull charged another time, and another, and another, and Javier acted according to the theory…until the eight time. Then the theory was enough for him and he began to fight kicking the nose of the bull until the beast moved its huge head and Javier saw a little space to escape running.

Everybody in the Hospital emergency room was waiting for him thinking in the worst possibilities.

– Leave me alone! I want to go home!, was the only thing he was saying at the arrival at the hospital. He looked surprisingly well.

His friend Francisco, From Madrid, with Javier’s sneakers on his hands, in the waiting room was the one who looked really sick. He was so impressed by what happened he needed assistance.

Half an hour after he enter the hospital Javier was able to go home. He was OK! Only some bruises by the sides of the horns and the blows against the wall and the floor, nothing more.

He went home in bad shape. His white shirt torn up, his clothes dirty and walking with the help of his friend Francisco. He rang the door’s bell. And when his mother opened the door and saw him said:

– And the loaf of bread? Didn’t I tell you to buy the loaf of bread before you come back home? You always having fun out there and the only thing I ask you to do for me, you forget.

– But Mom…

– And where have you been? How are you so dirty? surly drinking with your friends. Who knows what….

– Mom, you didn’t watch the running of the bulls at TV this morning did you?


PS. This story is real. It happened many years ago. I Asked Javier if he would run again and he answered that being charged by a bull eight times and not wounded by the horns is a miracle, a miracle by San Fermín. He said miracles don’t happen often so he probably wouldn’t. Javier’s mom wouldn’t watch the video so impressed she was when they told her the story of his son and the bull charging against him eight times without wounding him.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Best Medicine.