Navarra in red and white
The time is 11:59 am on July 6, and the plaza is full to the brim with people who have been crossing off the days on their calendars up until this moment. From the balcony of the town hall, a person shouts, “Lesakarras, Viva San Fermín! Gora San Fermín!” A rocket is launched into the sky and the fiesta of San Fermín has officially begun. But…Lesakarras? Not People of Pamplona?
That is right. Pamplona is famous all over the world for San Fermín, but Pamplona is not the only city where this fiesta is celebrated. Lesaka, a lovely town in the Pirineos mountains begins its fiesta on the same day and at the same hour with everyone dressed in red and white. There are, of course, fewer people present than in Pamplona, but Lesaka´s fiesta has its own enchantment with Basque dancers who perform only one day a year – July 7, dancing on the dangerous edges of the borders of the Onin river. This is to remember the peace signed in the XV century among the different parts of the town. It is a fascinating and breathtaking sight to see.
The truth is that you can find fiestas in red and white all across Navarra during the summer. When good weather arrives, villages and towns celebrate their own fiestas, and like one large family, all the neighboring areas are invited to celebrate together. A sort of “today in my house and tomorrow in yours.”
Tudela, the ciry with the second largest population in Navarra begins to celebrate Santa Ana each 24 of July, although the religious celebration takes place on July 26. The running of the bulls in Tudela is a marvelous place to try your skills in the “encierro” because there are fewer people in the route. The weekends, however; are massed with fiesta-goers coming from half of Navarra.
When the fiesta of Tudela ends, the next stop is the town of Estella-Lizarra. During the first week of August, Estella turns red and white in honor of the Virgen of Puy and St. Andrés. The “encierro” or running of the bulls is the major attraction, but so are the fireworks, the fair, the delicious tapas to eat with glasses of wine and the happiness of the people in general. Once again, everyone who can goes to Estella on the weekends.
From August 14 until August 20, the fiestas of Tafalla take the front stage. Tafalla is around 35 kilometers from Pamplona, and the “encierro” draws runners from all of Spain. These brave “mozos” ask for the protection of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción instead of San Fermín, and the Señora must listen as thrilling runs can be made here.
These are just a few of the larger fiestas scattered throughout Navarra, welcoming everyone – from foreigners to those from Navarra to enjoy their special days dressed in red and white.