MADRID – Spain’s best-known bull-running festival held in the northern city of Pamplona will have to be cancelled for the second year in a row because of the pandemic, the regional head of Navarre said Tuesday (Feb 2).
The San Fermin festival, which is normally held in July and was immortalised in Renest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Always Rises”, “won’t be possible” this year, Maria Chivite told an economic forum.
“It is not responsible to create expectations which will be impossible to fulfil,” she added. Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for Pamplona city hall said it is up to the regional government of Navarre to formally cancel the event held each year from July 6-14, but that as of now “that decision has not been taken”.
The festival in honour of the patron saint of Spain’s northern Navarre region – San Fermin – dates back to medieval times and involves religious processions, concerts and all-night partying in addition to the hair-raising daily bull runs that have made it famous.
The festival draws tourists from around the world and its cancellation will deal another blow to the local economy, especially the hotel and restaurant sector which is already reeling from lockdowns and restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the virus. The last time Pamplona did not celebrate the festival two years in a row was during Spain’s 1936-39 civil war.
Other major Spanish events have already been called off for the second year in a row. Seville has cancelled Easter week processions while the Mediterranean port of Valencia has postponed until the second half of the year the Las Fallas festival usually held in March.
Spain has been hard-hit by the pandemic, recording more than 59,000 deaths from over 2.8 million cases so far.