San Fermín: a load of bull?

Most people associate the Fiesta of San Fermín with Pamplona and bull-running in July, however I decided to do a bit of investigation into the connection between bulls and “Saint Firmin” (as he is also known), in the interests of journalistic accuracy.  After my research, I was even more confused than before. 

Apparently San Fermín’s feast day is actually on September 25th and not July 6th.  The connection with bulls seems a bit tenuous too: there is one story that Saint Fermín died being dragged through the streets by bulls, although other sources suggest that it was a different saint.  However he was definitely born in Pamplona, which I am sure is enough of a connection to justify the annual celebrations both there and throughout Spain.

Jumillanos love a good party, so the neighbours in the Barrio of San Fermín will be celebrating their saint’s day (in July) with great enthusiasm over the next few days.  Fortunately there won’t be any bulls in the neighbourhood, so John and I plan to go along tonight with some friends to join in the fiesta fun.

I have to say that I have never been to a bull-fight and I don’t intend going to one.  I just accept that it is one of the few Spanish traditions that I can’t agree with, though I don’t think it is my place to tell them so, especially since hunting was allowed in the UK until recent years.  However I am pleased to report that a growing number of Spaniards are campaigning against all forms of cruelty to animals, and there is now an Antitaurino group here in Jumilla, which my facebook friend Irene from 4 Patas kindly signed me up for!

The programme for this year’s Fiestas de San Fermín includes several processions, a special mass, a Tortilla Española competition, dance displays, children’s games, a concert by a Pop Rock group and, to close the festivities, a concert by the talented Flamenco group Al Golpe. 

During our first couple of years in Jumilla we watched the children playing at bull-fighting during the fiesta, but it doesn’t seem to be on the agenda this year, which we think is a good thing.  Although I must admit that the children were so cute that I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos.  I hope nobody minds if I post one here: 

Children taking part in the Fiestas de San Fermin

Tonight we are going to watch the Coronation of the Fiesta Queens.  We aren’t sure exactly what is involved, but our lovely friend Cristina from Bar La Casa is one of the Reinas, so we are going along to support her.  There will be a dance display too by the Academia Aurora González, who so impressed us with their performance in Teatro Vico, so we know it will be an enjoyable evening.  We suspect that a few loud fireworks might be lit tonight as well, although nothing has been advertised: after all a fiesta isn’t a fiesta in Spain without one or two deafening blasts!

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  1. Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.’s avatar

    You missed the point (oh, that was very bad)!
    They hold Pamplona on the 6th, so you can be fully recovered to participate in the feast 100 days later :-) (My tall tale is as good as the others…)

  2. Sue Walker’s avatar

    That’s definitely a load of old bull: it never takes our Spanish friends that long to recover from a fiesta……!