Over time, I have been surprised by the large number of tourists that come to Pamplona to enjoy the festival. I assume that when each one sees the procession or the figure of the saint (San Fermin) in scarves, posters, etc.. they must wonder … who was he??
Well, in this post, we will put aside the bulls, the party, the drink and food to learn the history of the saint behind the festival:
The Sanfermines, better known worldwide as the Running of the bulls, owe their name to the son of Firmo, a senior Roman administration official that ruled Pamplona in the third century, and his wife Eugenia.
The young Fermin was baptized by San Saturnino (Pamplona’s Patron) in the well known Pocico of San Cernin. San Saturnino sent Fermin to preach the gospel through Navarre and eventually, Fermin became the first bishop of Pamplona.
Over the years, Fermín decided to travel to France, where he built the local church of Amiens and continued to preach Christianity. He was imprisoned for preaching Christianity and in 1186, was beheaded for refusing to cease preaching. This sacrifice is one of the reasons San Fermin is revered as an important historical figure to both Pamplona and the faithful.
Each year on July 7, known as the Day of San Fermin, an official procession occurs to celebrate and honor San Fermin. This annual procession through the streets of Pamplona is full of emotion, joy and respect.