San Fermin Festival, Spain
With the blow of horns and as the chupinazo explodes into fire, at 12 noon of the 6th of July, the San Fermin festival is declared open. People from all over the world get down on the streets dressed in red and white to take part in this festival or to simply be a spectator. This 9 day festival is celebrated on a massive scale, the streets are decorated, seems like the entire city of Pamplona is in the mood to party, there is an unmatched zeal and vigor in the people, everyone become friends with each other, there is no hesitation in saying hello, its like everyone is together in this celebration.
The event closes on the midnight of the 14th of July, the week long celebration sees a lot of traditional and folk activities. The most famous part of the entire celebration is the Encierro. As the bulls are held open all set to race behind the young men, the entire city goes shush, it is considered as the moment of tension, while the mozos are worried at the thought of survival in the race, the spectators are worried for their acquaintances running the race, some pray for their successful completion of the race while others pray that they survive unscratched. As the race closes and the bulls enter their ring, the streets of Pamplona, Spain usually witness an outburst of emotions, some shedding tears of joy, some crying over the loss of their friend, some racers thanking the almighty for their survivals, others filled pride. You would see people hugging each other, it is one joyous moment.
This celebration roots back its origin to two different events of the medieval period. Commercial fair were organized at the onset of summers where in people would come to the city with their cattle, gradually bullfighting was started as a part of their tradition. Apart from this religious ceremonies in the honor of the saint were held on the 10th of October, in the year 1591, these were shifted to the 7th of July, in the same time during the fair because Pamplona’s weather is better during that period. That is how San Fermin began, back then the festival used to include of a lot of events which began with the opening speech followed by theatre performances, magic shows, music et cetera. Bull running came much later in the 17th and 18th century with a lot of foreigners coming over to become a part of the celebrations and concern to prohibit dissolute behavior during the fiesta.
After the Encierro, the celebration continues, there is a lot of fun and frolic to look up to. With chocolates, doughnuts, cabezudos, bullfight in the evening and firework to light up the night sky. The city sways tirelessly the entire night to the tempting beats of music.
Since 2000 an international firework contest is held on each night of the 9 days long festival. Many people sit outside the citadel on the grass to witness some amazing firework.
Apart from the schedule events, the best part about this entire fest is that, for these nine days, people put aside their worries and egos and join the rest to celebrate in the real spirit.