Peña de Los Gatos
Viva San Fermin! Gora San Fermin!
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Peña de Los Gatos promotes and celebrates the Fiesta de San Fermin
held each year in Pamplona, Spain.
Copyright 2007 Jonathan Knowles and Kelly Knowles www.worldadventure.com
www.jonathanknowles.com
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The first thing you should know about Fiesta de San Fermin (the Spanish say Sanfermines) is that you should not make specific plans. Think of Fiesta as a flowing river. You will do well to be a part of the flowing water of this river. Let Fiesta take you where it will. Enjoy the ride.

Whether it is the running of the bulls, the running of the bars, the corrida, the wandering Peña bands, sampling tapas, the singing in the streets, the parade of the giants, the dancing in Plaza Castillo, chocolate and churros, or simply an afternoon siesta, let the moment be your guide.

The Encierro
Also known as the
Running of the Bulls

The following is taken mostly from Pamplona, Running the bulls, bars, and Barrios in Fiesta de San Fermin by Ray Mouton. You should buy this book.

This is one of the most dangerous and exhilarating rituals on planet earth. You should not run unless you understand the risks the intricacies of the event. There are injuries every year and while not common, deaths. In 1995 a young American runner was gored to death less than 30 seconds into his first encierro. Ignorance can get you hurt or killed. Click here and read this before you go.

Click here to see the route of the encierro.

The Corrida
Also known as The Bullfight

The Fiesta in Pamplona is known throughout Spain as Feria del Toro, the fair or fiesta of the bulls. While there are more important and prestigious bullfights, the bullfights in Pamplona are one the biggest in Spain .

The inclusion of the local Peñas in the Pamplona corrida are certainly a sight to behold—preferably from the opposite side of the arena. Each local Peña fills their section of the stands wearing there colors and singing along with their band. Often the different Peña bands “dual” for the attention of the others in the stands by playing louder and louder. It is not unusual to hear a traditional Pamplonesa song followed immediately by a Van Halen tune. Halfway through the corrida, the Peña members are covered in flour, eggs, sangria, and whatever else they have tossed at each other in a good natured food fight.

Regardless of the behavior of the Peñas, the bulls are the centerpiece of Fiesta in Pamplona . It is serious business for those who participate. Ernest Hemingway’s work, Death in the Afternoon, is considered a very good introduction to the ancient tradition of the bullfight.

It is important to understand the corrida del toros. This is not “sport”. The english word “bullfight” is a poor translation of the corrida del toros, which really translates to “running” not “combating” with the bulls. And these are not the bulls you see on the farm. As Hemingway stated, the toro bravo is as different from the domestic bull as a dog is from a wolf. The toro bravo is a descendent of a species of bull that once roamed the ancient forests of Europe . After being hunted your centuries, they were finally relegated to the Iberian Peninsula .

The corrida is not nor is it meant to be and “even match”. The corrida del toros has evolved from ancient primitive rites of ritual sacrifice of an animal-god dating back thousands of years.  Westerners cheering for the bull and booing the toreros are a sad image of not understanding this.

The corrida del toros is indeed tragic. The bull will die and the man will be exposed to mortal danger. But tragedy requires dignity and the toro bravo is an animal of great dignity and the toreros will perform with dignity.

Pamplona, Running the bulls, bars, and Barrios in Fiesta de San Fermin
by Ray Mouton

The best book ever written about Sanfermines. This truly is a guide to Fiesta. No other work published will better educate and prepare you for this event. A well written must for all who plan on attending and immersing themselves in the spirit of Fiesta.

Run To The Sun - Pamplona's Fiesta
de San Fermin

Many contributors

The absolute best "Coffee table book" available about Fiesta de San Fermin. Hundreds of photograhs and several well written essays make this a must own reminder of your visit.

The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway

For most people Fiesta today bears only little resemblance to the Fiesta Hemingway writes about however this is the book that put Pamplona on the map and this is one of the greatest works of fiction by an American author.

Hemingway's Paris & Pamplona
by Robert Burgess.

Bob met Ernest Hemingway during his last Pamplona fiesta, and describes those events in this excellent book. He retraces the route traveled by Jake and Bill in The Sun Also Rises in the countryside surrounding Pamplona . This is a great book for the Hemingway enthusiast and a fine read for anyone traveling to Pamplona or to Paris .

Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure

Another of Michael Palin’s (Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda, etc.) excellent travel adventures. Michael, a Hemingway enthusiast, visits Hemingway’s haunts, including a stop in Pamplona . Read the book or watch the video before going to Fiesta, and when you return, do the same with his other most excellent adventures Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle Sahara, and Himalaya .

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Visit our friends from world famous Kukuxumusu at SanFermin.com for all you need to know about Fiesta. And be sure to check out their online shop. All the cool people wear Kukuxumusu designs.