Viva San Fermin! Viva San Fermin!
July 7, 2011 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, July 6th, was the first day of San Fermín or Sanfermines in Pamplona, in celebration of Saint Fermín. As is tradition, it starts with a rocket, and turns into a giant, joyous, drunken party in the streets. The events to follow have changed over the centuries, with the addition of Riau Riau in 1914 (actual singing, words and lyrics, Spanish Wiki page with lyrics) in 1914, and most recently, leaving of candles and red bandanas at the Church of San Lorenzo, following the singing of Pobre de Mi. Oh, and there's the running of the bulls (route, photos from yesterday's run, previously).

Side notes: Saint Fermín's holy day is actually September 25, and celebrated on October 10, but the celebrations in Pamplona were joined with the traditional summer harvest festival and the celebration of the bulls, because October never had nice weather. has loads of history and current coverage, and has more recent coverage of Sanfermines in Spanish.
posted by filthy light thief (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I used to work with a young guy who was... mmm, "spacy" might be the best word. Nice kid, but out to lunch more often than not. He was in Pamplona and decided to run the the bulls. Apparently, he wasn't running fast enough, because a spectator yelled at him to watch out. So... he stopped. And looked around for the danger. Because, well, spacy....

Fortunately, a burly stranger reached out from safety and pulled him off the street and out of the way of the bull.

This does not seem like a wise sport for many people, honestly, and I doubt it does the cattle much good, either.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:01 AM on July 7, 2011

Most of the people I know root for the bulls...
posted by stifford at 9:09 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

While the Running of the Bulls happens every day of the 9-day festival, each run is less than 5 minutes (the run yesterday was 2 minutes 30 seconds, and four people injured).

More pictures from the festivities, including more injuries from crazy stunts ( in this case it's fountain-jumping, which was apparently started by Australians).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:30 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

One of the things I have retained from my middle school Spanish class is the following song:

Uno de Enero (1st of January)
Dos de Febrero (2nd or February)
Tres de Marzo (3rd of March)
Cuatro de Abril (4th of April)
Cinco de Mayo (5th of May)
Seis de Junio (6th of June)
Siete de Julio (7th of July)
San Fermin!

(and then I remember it going something like: "Quien a rota la pagareta? la la la la, la la la. Quien a rota la pagara?" but I dont know the correct spelling or what it meant so it may just be my memory made that part up.)
posted by sweetmarie at 10:19 AM on July 7, 2011

Here in New Orleans, we are chased by roller derby girls wearing horns:
posted by domo at 10:28 AM on July 7, 2011

I hope there's a lot of goring and trampling this year. I mean a LOT.
posted by longsleeves at 10:42 AM on July 7, 2011

LOL ... the Aussies ... Like rockets, they tend to burn brightly but burn out quickly.
posted by Surfurrus at 11:10 AM on July 7, 2011

longsleeves, if history is any record, there aren't all that many injuries, and most aren't that serious. According to the Pamplona (tourism) website, there are typically between 200-300 injuries per year (and 15 killed since 1924), with 2,000 runners on weekdays and almost 3,500 at weekends. Given that there are (at least) 9 days of runs, there are ~20,000 people running per year. But there seem to be other dangerous events with cattle, so you can mark up a few more for the horned ones.

From the CBS news link (15 killed link above), there are number of sad and/or amusing comments from guys in relationships:
"I'm planning on staying up ... partying until about 4 and then running tomorrow. I'm thinking about running this stretch here out of the square into 'dead man's' corner," said 28-year-old Australian tourist Dylan McLaren.

McLaren's white shirt had turned completely purple after being soaked in wine and other liquids. As was his girlfriend — who didn't seem to be particularly enamored by the occasion: "She's not very happy about that, not happy at all," he added.
But there's more than running (and killing) bulls.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:18 PM on July 7, 2011

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

And no, I didn't run. I just kept drinking. When in Rome yadda yadda. . .
posted by bardic at 10:00 PM on July 7, 2011

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