Memories of San Fermín
Today is an homage to our elders – “el Día de las Personas Mayores”, and two residents in the Casa de la Misericordia have shared their memories of past Sanfermines with the OIP.
Inma Mañeru, 76-years-old, and Vicente Suescun, 91- years-old are both from Larraga, but they have spent a large part of their lives in Pamplona. These two people belong to a Viva San Fermín group, the most important in the MECA. There they participate in many activities, proving that you are never too old to enjoy Sanfermines. Inma and Vicente also are part of a group that meets every July 7 at 10 a.m. to pray and to sing la Aurora a San Fermín.
Inma and Vicente have changed their ways of celebrating Sanfermines over the years but never their love for this fiesta. If they are asked how Sanfermines has changed since the 50s and 60s, their answer is the incredible increase in visitors. “Before, it was like being in your own backyard, although foreigners did come, like some French people from Dax whom I remember in the Peña La Única”, says Inma. “In those years and after the interest in Hemingway around the end of the 50s, Sanfermines began to attract more Americans and tourists in general. If I had to define in one word, “Sanfermines”, I would choose, “ Great!”
Inma loves the encierros, and she remembers how, when she was young, there was no problem in finding a seat on the barricades. “I lived in Merced street, and I got up at 7:30 a.m. to see the encierro from the barriers on the Curve of Mercaderes. In those times there were only municipal police.” The passion of Inma for the encierros sparked her out of bed every morning, while her husband stayed at home. In those times, there were only municipal police.
During other moments of the fiesta, Inma would go with la Peña La ‘Unica from Jarauta street. “We might spend the day or the entire night dancing with our children when they were 12 and 14 years-old. She also remembers a group of friends from the Peña who were called los mansos “because when the chupinazo was launched, they ran behind the bar to wait on people.” Inma sums it all up by saying that she has lived Sanfermines to the fullest…, and now, from the Casa de la Misericordia, continues being “the soul of the fiesta”.
Vicente Suescun is about to celebrate his 92th birthday and is in charge of playing the guitar during the Aurora to San Fermín, interpreted by the residents of the Casa de Misericordia. Vicente is more passionate about the bullfights than the encierro. In fact, in the 50s, he was one of the doormen of “tendido 2” in the bullring – the best seats,” he adds.
Vicente has many stories to tell about happenings in the bullring, and he remembers, as if it were yesterday, afternoons with famous matadors in Pamplona such as Ordóñez, Ostos, Galán, Fuentes… He is sorry not to have seen Manolete, but he does remember the article in a newspaper of July 10, 1947 that talks about the incredible triumph of Manolete in Pamplona that afternoon. “I remember what was published about Julián Marín, the bullfighter from Navarra who asked to be able to kill the bull that had ended the life of two runners that morning in the encierro.” The bull should have gone to Manolete, but Marín wanted to avenge the deaths of the two young men from Navarra.
The biggest ruckuss that he remembers in the bullring,” happened with Ordóñez, the idol of Pamplona, who also talks about the bull that tossed Jaime Ostos into the air. “Ostos belonged to the Peña Oberena, and once when he was dedicating a bull to someone, the bull caught him. The cape of Fuentes, the sword work of José Antonio Galán killing a Miura on July 14, 1973, the mayor back then, Miguel Javier Urmeneta, sitting on the sunny side of the ring at the end of the 50s…”
Vicente is a true encyclopedia of the bullfight. If you ask him about other favorite moments of the fiesta, he chooses the Procession of July 7, jotas, and, in the last few years in the Misericordia, the songs honoring the saint.
“My favorite memory is that of families dressed in red and white, and young people who enjoy Sanfermines in a different way, still wait for the fiesta with the same illusion as in years before”
Inma and Vicente are two versions of a grand fiesta who continue with the love of their Sanfermines, but in a different way.