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San Fermin Festival Options
Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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San Fermin Festival

The festivities surrounding this well-known festival in Pamplona, Spain, honoring the city's bishop, begin with a rocket fired from the balcony of the town hall. Bands of txistularis—with dancers, drummers, and txistu players (a musical instrument like a flute)—march through the town playing songs announcing the "running of the bulls," an event that has taken place here for 400 years. Each morning, young men, dressed in typical Basque costumes, risk their lives running through the streets ahead of the bulls being run to the bullring where the bullfights will be held. More...
Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:04:51 AM
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Some people, of course, feel that the running of the bulls is an event that should really be discontinued. It is not a very edifying spectacle for either the bulls or the humans.
Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 9:40:19 AM

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Some traditional festivals should be upheld, some should be eradicated - this is definitely one of the latter.

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 10:11:27 AM

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But who was San Fermin really?

All this celebrating is going on thanks to a saint called San Fermín. How come he has ended up being the patron saint for all this partying?

It seems he was the son of the local head man when Pamplona was just another city belonging to the great Roman Empire back in the third century A.D. or thereabouts. A french Bishop -San Saturnino- came down to bring the Good News to the local heathens. He did such a good job on San Fermín that this guy decided to go up to France - to Toulouse to do some more learning and to become a bishop. Then he returned to help out with the good work that San Saturnino had started and then after a period he went back up to France to spread the word around the area of Amiens.
However, it seems he ran up against the local powers-to-be up there and got himself tortured and beheaded for his trouble. The body is still up there in the local Cathedral, but some parts of it are spread round as valuable relics. Three such relics eventually made their way to Pamplona back in the middle ages and they made the guy very popular round these parts.
It's a bit ironic really that, with the curriculum that he's got, this saint should be the excuse for the annual Baccal that has become so famous round the world. He would probably turn in his grave if he only knew. But let's be fair, for many people it is something more than just "a damn good party". And so there is a pretty classy procession on his feastday - the 7th of July. And maybe he returns his thanks when he gives us that special protection during the Bull-Running when the people talk about the "capotico (the cape) of San Fermín" when there have been some lucky escapes made.
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