Pamplona’s running of the bulls days: The Pamplona festival – also known as the San Fermin Festival or Sanfermines– is held in Pamplona, Spain every year from July 6-14. The most famous part of the festival is the bull run or encierro when 15 bulls charge through the streets of the old city. Although the festival begins on July 6, the bulls do not run until July 7 and then run for 7 consecutive mornings.
The history of the Pamplona’s run remains unclear. There is evidence of the festival from as far back as the 13th century when it seems the events took place in October as this coincided with the festival of San Fermin on October 10th. It seems that the modern day celebration has evolved from this as well as individual commercial and bullfighting fiestas which can be traced back to the 14th century. Over many years the mainly religious festival of San Fermin was diluted by music, dancing, bullfights and markets such that the Pamplona Council proposed that the whole event be moved to July 7th when the weather is far more conducive to such a celebration. The festival featured daily bullfights and the bulls were herded through the winding streets to the local bullring (formerly in the Plaza del Castillo). Locals helped the shepherds drive the bulls and this eventually became running in front of the bulls.
Since 1924, 15 people have died running with the bulls and there are severe injuries every year. The cobblestone course is very slippery and the bulls fall, often taking runners with them. The bulls are also large, agressive, and have sharp horns. The last person killed during a bull run was an American named Matthew Tassio. He died in 1995 after being gored by a bull. The most dangerous days to run are at the beginning of the festival (July 6-8) or on Saturdays and Sundays when overcrowding is a serious problem.
Bullfight Tickets & Program
Tickets for the bullfights are sold out well in advance as the arena only holds 12,500 people. Every evening after the day’s bullfight some tickets go on sale for the next evening’s event at the ‘taquillas’ at the bull ring. You’ll usually find ticket touts operating around the Plaza de Toros during the day and before the bullfight selling at elevated prices. The Bullfights At Pamplona
The bullfight during the Pamplona Fiesta is very different to bullfights in any other big bullring in Spain or anywhere else. For the simple reason that it is far more than just a bullfight, it is a great party. The bullfights are organised by the “Casa de Misericordia” which is the town’s or Old-Folks Home and the profits go towards the upkeep of this charitable institution. This philanthropic result makes it somewhat easier to pay the expensive prices. The bullfights are an essential part of the San Fermín festival (apart from the bull-fights during the Sanfermines there are no other bull-fights during the rest of the year in Pamplona.).
In short, the bullfight in Pamplona is a continuation of the madness which is going on in the street during the fiesta. It is just another place for the party to continue and for getting on with the basic function of the “fiesta”, which is to have a hell of a good time and to eat and drink and generally to do your own thing any way you want.
For many people, the start of the bullfights is the start of the day. (The bullfights start at 6.30 in the afternoon!) Bullfights Program:
Tuesday 6. Corrida de rejones. Toros de Bohórquez para Fermín Bohórquez, Hermoso de Mendoza y Sergio Galán.
Wednesday 7. Toros de Peñajara para Diego Urdiales, Luis Bolívar y Salvador Cortés.
Thursday 8. Toros de Cebada Gago para Francisco Marco, Sergio Aguilar y Morenito de Aranda.
Friday 9. Toros de Fuente Ymbro para Antonio Ferrera, Oliva Soto y Rubén Pinar.
Saturday 10. Toros de Dolores Aguirre para Iván Fandiño, David Mora y Joselillo.
Sunday 11. Toros de Miura para Juan José Padilla, Rafaelillo y Javier Valverde.
Monday 12. Toros de Victoriano del Río para Curro Díaz, El Juli y Alejandro Talavante.
Tueday 13. Toros de El Pilar para El Cid, El Fandi y Miguel Tendero.
Miércoles 14. Toros de Jandilla para El Juli, Sebastián Castella y Miguel Ángel Perera.
Out of the season or Bullfight Program: Monday 5 of July Novillada Cristian Escribano, Juan del Álamo and the mexican Diego Silveti para lidiar reses de Marqués de Domecq.
Sun & Shade
In most Bullrings there are marked differences between the seating in the shade and the seating under the hot sun. A different way of viewing the spectacle and not only in the physical sense. This difference is particularly true of the Pamplona bullring. Seats in the shade are found in the sections 1, 2, and 3. Sections 4 and 7 share both sun and shade depending on the hour. Here, where the public are not roasted by the strong sun, prices for these seats are the most expensive and the public is better behaved.
Here, you can watch the bulls in peace without suffering any distractions. The real fans of the bullfights are found in these seats. Make sure you arrive on time- before 6.30 when the first fight starts. Once the bull is in the ring, it is not permitted to allow late-arrivals to take their seats until that bull is killed. It is also a good idea to hire out a cushion to sit on. You can find them at some small stalls inside the stadium.
The only problem is the limited number of tickets. So, even if you have no interest in bullfighting and even have some moral objections to it, you can safely sit in the sun section among all the madness on this side and scarcely be aware that there is a bullfight going on. However there is a degree of flexibility with the tickets if you have a ticket for the shade (the more expensive tickets) you can generally blag your way into the sun section. It does not work the other way round.
FIESTAS DE SAN FERMIN PROGRAM
July 6th – Evening Vespers, A religious service is held on the evening of Jul 6th which is attended by the entire city council at the church of San Lorenzo which proudly holds relics of Pamplona´s patron saint, San Fermin. Vespers are sung by local choir & recordings go back to 15th century.
July 7th -16st Bullrun/Encierro, At 7 a.m. the 1st bullrun takes place on July 7th streets adjoining the route of the running of the bulls are closed off in preparation for the 8 a.m. Bullrun. This day is always very dangerous as it attracts the most runners traditionally. We advise to be in your running position by 7 a.m. as streets get closed off!!
July 7th – 10:30 a.m. – Riau Riau At 10:30 am on July 7th, the effigy of San Fermin is carried from the church of San Lorenzo & is followed by a procession of the city council dressed in ceremonial regalia, clergy including the bishop of Pamplona & the locals.
July 6th-13th – Encierillo at Night, the bulls are moved from the large corrals accross the river up to the corral at Santo Domingo for the morning´s encierro. Spectators are limited by the City Council & must have a security pass. The Encierillo is signaled by the blowing of a ram´s horn. The only persons in the street are the pastors & herders who work with the bulls. Onlookers observe from the high walls in total silence, anyone making noise or using flash camera would be considered to be distracting the bulls & most likely find themselves in jail with a hefty fined.
July 6th-14th – 9:30 a.m. – Gigantes, Daily the City Giants take to the streets of Pamplona. 8 giants, 4-5 metres in height & first designed by Navarra artist, Tadeo Amorena around 1850´s. they represent the mythical queens & kings of Europe, Africa, America & Asia. The Gigantes dance through the streets of pamplona & are extremely popular with the young children.
July 7th-14th – 7:30 p.m. -Merienda in Bullring, A light late afternoon meal eaten all year round but during sanfermines it is typical to “meriendar” in the Plaza de Toros (bullring) at 7.30 pm after the 3rd of 6 bullfights & washed down with gallons of sangria & kalimotcho.
July 8th-14th – 3:00 a.m. – “Caldo Soup” A light consume which is very popular with the bullrunners who have stayed up all night! beware…they start serving at 3 a.m.
July 14 – Closing Ceremony– “Pobre de Mí” A beautiful candlelight closing ceremony held at the Plaza Consistorial on july 14th. At the stroke of midnight, a rocket is fired to mark the closing of the fiesta & this is when the pañuelo is removed.