San Fermin Fiesta

Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.

If you come to my city the 6th of July you’ll witness the explosion of the fiesta that Hemingway described in his novel . Exactly at noon, from the balcony of the city hall, the mayor or one of the councilors fires a rocket after saying “Viva San Fermín!” and at the sound of the rocket, thousands of people, dressed in white, holding red bandanas, who were waiting in the square and the streets, put their bandanas around their necks, and start to dance and sing… and drink. The fiesta officially has begun and will last till the 14th of July at midnight. Everybody goes around in white and red during the fiesta in honour of the saint patron of the city.
The Fiesta is internationally known by its encierros or the Running of the Bulls. Each morning from the 7th of July to the 14th, at 8:00 am it begins the running with the release of six bulls with six oxen at the pen of Santo Domingo to run after thousand of runners through delimited streets till the bullring situated 826 meters apart.
In its origins the run was the way they had to guide the bulls from the pen to the bullring. Now thousands of runners from all the world take part of the run.
But they have to be carefull because the run is dangerous and take in consideration some rules:
– Don’t run under the influx of alcohol or drugs. Is very dangerous and you’ll get fined.
– Don’t run in the opposite direction or behind the bulls.
– Don’t stop along the run or do anything that can harm other runners.
– Don’t block the fences.
– Don’t take pictures or videos while running (this is very important to stress nowadays).
– Don’t do anything to get the attention of the bull. Don’t touch it or hit it.
– Don’t carry objects improper for the run
– Wear an appropriate footwear.
– Don’t even try running if you’re not fit.
It’s impossible to do the whole distance. The bulls run at an average of 24 km per hour. Usually a runner only can do a small part of the distance. The runners usually choose the section of the street they want to run. Specially critical are the beginning and the end.

OK, Enough with bulls. I understand is the main attraction of my city, but despite I have lived here for a long, long time, I don’t like it. As a reporter I’ve written for years about the wounded on the run. I have seen what the bulls can do to a runner and is not pretty. Plus, I don’t like what they do to the bulls afterwards in the bullring.

There is an event the 7th of July, the day of San Fermin followed by thousands of people, that is worth it to see: The procession with the saint through the streets of the old quarter with the Mayor and all the councilors, the bishop and the cathedral chapter, the music band and the so-called “comparsa de gigantes y cabezudos” or group of giants and big-heads. There is music and joy and the giants dance now and then. The giants are very tall puppets ( about 4 meters) representing kings and queens of different races made in the XIX century. They have a wooden structure where a hidden man makes them walk and dance.

During the procession, choirs and particulars sing traditional “jotas” to the saint. There is joy and colour everywhere.

Local Flavor.

 

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