Outside of Spain, Pamplona only makes news in July, when Panplonenses wear their festive white clothes adorned with red scarves and hankerchiefs to give a toss during el chupinazo and run in the encierro of San Fermines.
Nevertheless, to my surprise, when I arrived at Pamplona in September, The city welcomed me with a party!
Bored, newly arrived to the city, and with nothing to do, I decided to go for a walk to get to know my new “home”, and found tons of people out in the streets. At the beginning, I was surprised. But then I rationalized that locals probably used Sundays afternoons to walk around town as a family.
However, it did not take long for me to discover I was mistaken.
Kids, grandparents and entire families ran along the streets trying to avoid the blows of rubber cachirorras given by men dressed in horse suits.
In the piazzas, dancers jumped and turned with handkerchiefs and baskets showcasing the traditional dances as they were cheered on by the spectator’s enthusiastic claps.
Along the streets, people’s voices were sporadically replaced by the tunes of the charanga’s(photo 3) clarinets and drums that announced the parade of “Gigantes y Cabezones” (photo 4), people dressed with giant paper mache heads that represented different public figures.
It was definitely not a normal weekend.
Pamplonenses’ were celebrating the “Small Parties”, a reduced version of San Fermines that allows locals to maintain the tradition and enjoy the celebration without the tourists, even though at this event the emblematic bulls are absent.
Even though Pamplona only makes news in July, its locals know how to have fun all year round.
For more information about Pamplona, Spain, and San Fermines, visit Pamplona’s official website.