Other Discussions on Spain

Hail St. Fermin and Damn the Bulls

     July 7 is the feast of St, Fermin, when the bulls run in Pamplona, chasing
hare-legged and hare-brained youths. Everyone knows that because of a
sensationalist piece by bull-headed Ernest Hemingway. The festivities go on
for nine days. San Fermin, who is forgotten,  must be turning over in his
grave at this debasing of his feast.  Born in Pamplona, he evangelized the
whole area from Amiens in Prance to Navarre. He was executed in the
persecution of Christians by Diocletian in 303. Public demonstrations of
joy for the hopes of the Spanish soccer team in the World Cup had given way
to nasty criticism when it returned home ingloriously.  Now the same crowd
is jumping around again for victory over a team of bulls, who may gore one
or two of the young idiots but who inevitably die in a fixed game. St.
Fermin's feastday had been September 25, the date of his martyrdom, but it
was moved to coincide with the cattle fair. Sainthood, bah! bulls and
money, yes!
        Saints' days celebrated individuals who had led exemplary lives.  The
feast of St. Fermin exemplifies of the progress we have made since the
Middle Ages.

Ronald Hilton - 07/06/98