WITH BANDS OF MUSICIANS
The “Dianas” are well-known tunes played by the “Banda de Gaiteros” (Piper
band) and “La Pamplonesa” (Pamplona’s official brass
band) at day-break.
The idea is to wake everyone up and announce the start of a new day of
festivities. The bands gather at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall
and the Plaza de Toros (Bull Ring) to play local and traditional tunes as they
go through all the streets of the old part of the city.
OR BULL RUNNING
route starts at the small cattle pen in the street of Santo Domingo, passing
through the Plaza Consistorial (Town Hall Square) and the street of Mercaderes
to reach the street of Estafeta and goes from there to the Plaza de Toros or
Bull Ring. Originally, the bull running ended in the Plaza del Castillo (main
square) and, in the past, there have been various routes to reach this square.
In 1856 the bull run took place along the street of Estafeta for the
route is 848 meters long, and the herd takes approximately four minutes to
complete the run, with the bulls running at speeds of around 24 km/hour. The
herd is made up of six bulls and eight Cabestros or oxen and then a
further three oxen are sent out two minutes after the last bull in order to stay
with and guide any stray bulls that may have broken away from the herd.
bull running has its origins in medieval times when the herdsmen would bring the
bulls for the bull fights across country from the pastures of the southern
plains of La Ribera to the public square that had been prepared as a bull ring.
the end of the 19th Century, instead of running behind the bulls,
people began to run in front of them instead. So that, an activity that was
initially to help the herdsmen with the bulls, became a peculiar and traditional
custom that distinguishes the festival of San Fermin.
before the start of the bull run, at 7.55, 7.57 and 7.59 o’clock, the runners
sing to an image of San Fermin located in a niche in a wall in the steep street
of Santo Domingo where the run will begin. Although very recent, this act has
already become a rite : A San Fermín pedimos, por ser nuestro patrón, nos
guíe en el encierro dándonos su bendición (We ask San Fermin, as our
patron saint, to guide us in the bull run by giving us his blessing).
8.00 o’clock, after the eighth chime of the bells from the San Fermin church
tower, the rocket is fired to indicate that the pen has been opened. Then a
further rocket is fired to indicate that the bulls have left the pen. The third
rocket indicates that all the bulls have reached the bull ring and, finally, the
fourth rocket signals that the last bull has been entered the pens. To a large
extent, the safety of the runners depends on these rockets being fired correctly
and on time. There can be as many as 2.000 runners on a normal weekday and up to
3.500 at weekends.
The bull running can be seen from a balcony and there are owners who
occasionally hire their balconies out; or else from the street
itself, behind the wooden fencing – although, to get a good spot, it is
necessary to be there some two hours before the bull running actually takes
place, or else in the bull ring itself.
The ticket offices open at six o’clock in
the morning, and tickets for any day may be obtained during opening hours.
the bull run, small cows are let loose in the arena for the entertainment of the
GIANTS AND BIGHEADS
Procession of the Giants and Bigheads (Gigantes y Cabezudos) is one of the most
popular and well-attended spectacles of the San Fermin festival. The procession
is made up of 25 paper mâché figures, composed of Giants, Big-heads and
Kilikis (figures carrying a stick with a rope and sponge to hit spectators with)
and Zaldikos (figures with a paper mâché horse).
eight Giants are almost four metres high and represent four of the five
continents: Africa, Asia, America and Europe. They have been part of the
festivals for the last century and a half and are almost as emblematic as the
bull running itself, although many people are still not aware of them.
morning during the festival, they make their appearance at the bus station at
9.30 a.m., except on the 7th July when they start out at 9 o’clock.
also frequently accompany the Pamplonesa Brass Band and the Municipal Procession
in official acts, such as the Procession where they are to be found just ahead
of the entourage. The
first accounts of the participation of the Giants in the Pamplona festivals date
back to the 11th Century. The current figures, four pairs,
representing four of the continents, were made by the craftsman, Tadeo Amorena
is an entourage of Kilikis who are there to protect the Giants, and these
figures surprise and startle the children with their gentle blows.
(Vinegar face), Napleón, Verrugón K (wart face), Barbas
Patata (potato) and Coleta (Pony tail) are the six Kilikis,
wearing three-cornered hats and carrying Vergas or sticks with a sponge
attached to a rope at one end.
Cabezudos or Big-heads are also part of the Giants’ entourage. They go
ahead of the Giants, walking very seriously and do not dance.
Procession also includes men dressed in vivid colours riding a paper mâché
horse, with the shield of Pamplona stamped on the back part of the horse as an
emblem. These are the six friendly and somewhat lazy Zaldikos who
represent the King’s servers and who also carry the vergas or sticks
with a rope and sponge.
THE APARTADO OR BULLS SEPARATION
: Bull ring. Sale
of tickets: From 10 a.m. onwards in the Bull Ring ticket window.
“apartado” consists of separating each bull for the afternoon bull fight.
There is first a draw to allocate the different bulls to the matadors. For this,
the matadors’ seconds establish three lots in which the particular
characteristics of each bull are considered.
the lots have been agreed upon, the numbers are put into the hat of a senior
herdsman, and these numbers are then pulled out and the lots are awarded to each
bull fighter in order of seniority. Once the draw has been carried out, the
actual separation of the bulls takes place.
bull separation in Pamplona is a particularly social occasion. Political
personalities, artists, professionals and, of course, bull fighting fans, are
all present at the bar, which is expressly prepared for the occasion.
OF MULES AND HORSE RIDERS AND BANDS OF MUSIC TO THE BULL RING
the program indicates that the departure is from the Town Hall Square, the horse
riders, mules and music band actually meet up in the Mercado street.
here they go to the Bull Ring parading through the streets of Mercaderes and
Chapitela to the Plaza del Castillo or main square and then along the Espoz y
horse riders lead the way – dressed in black and wearing capes – followed by
two groups of three mules with coloured ribbons and bells, with their mule
drivers and accompanied by the La Pamplonesa brass band.
Peñas or San Fermin social clubs complete the parade, with their own particular
bands and, armed with abundant afternoon snacks, they take the fiesta to the
seats in the Sun in the Bull Ring.
a seating capacity of 19,529, the
Pamplona Bull Ring is the second largest in Spain, and is only surpassed by the
Las Ventas Ring in Madrid
Sun section, largely occupied by the Peñas or San Fermin social clubs,
is a scene or anarchy and chaos, and the fight can even go unnoticed due to the
celebrations going on there. Meanwhile, in the shade section, people are
enjoying the fight. This contrast between the Sun and Shade in the Ring, make
Pamplona bull fights unique.
5.000 people from Pamplona belong to these social clubs and each club is
distinguished by its smock, own particular hymn etc. With their large banners,
and accompanied by bands of music, the Peñas go through the streets at the
beginning and end of the fight, enlivening the fiestas.
the third bull, many Peñas leave their seats to eat the Merienda or
afternoon snack in the porches around the Bull Ring.
well as the Peñas from Pamplona, there are also numerous Peñas
formed by bull fighting enthusiasts from abroad, such as Peñas from Sweden, Peña
Borussia, la Querencia or the New York Bull Club.
TO THE “LOS CORRALES DEL GAS” BULL ENCLOSURE
If you haven’t been able to attend the bull fight, you could always dedicate
part of the afternoon to visiting the bull enclosures where it is possible to
see all the bulls to be fought during the coming bull fights held during the
festivals. It is also possible to visit the enclosures in the mornings.
Any children accompanying adults are
admitted free of charge.
“ENCIERRILLO” OR SHORT BULL RUNNING
Just before the start of the San Fermin festivals, the bulls that are to be
fought during the bullfights are put into the enclosures called the “Corrales
del Gas” in the district of La Rochapea.
the fact that the bull run starts at the foot of the steep street of Santo
Domingo, the bulls need to be moved to the pen located in this street. The
silent, anonymous, unknown run is known as the Encierillo or short run.
It consists of taking the herd from the Corrales del Gas, located in La
Rochapea, to the pen in Santo Domingo, from where the bull run will commence.
This movement of the herd is not open to the bull
runners, and the bulls are only accompanied by the herdsmen. These proceedings
can only be observed y obtaining special passes from the Town Hall or from
balconies opposite the entrance to the Santo Domingo pen – next to the Navarre