Yamaguchi City and the city of Pamplona, Spain formed a sister city relationship in 1980. Pamplona, which is the capital of the province of Navarre, has a population of roughly 200,000 people. The city is located in the middle of Navarre, and is surrounded by mountains. The average annual temperature for Pamplona is 12.4ºC, but temperatures can exceed 35ºC in the summer and drop below 0ºC in the winter.
Pamplona is best known for the Running of the Bulls, or encierro. Roughly one million would-be participants and spectators flock to Pamplona from all over the world just for this event. Participants and observers alike are not permitted to make noise or do anything that would distract the bulls. The eight-day long Running of the Bulls is the most famous event in the festival of San Fermin, which is held annually from July 6th through July 14th.
The festival is named after San Fermin, or Saint Fermin, the patron saint of Pamplona. He is said to have been born in Pamplona in the 5th century and died at age 31 in Amiens, France. On the morning of July 7th, his effigy is carried out of San Lorenzo church in a solemn procession.
The festival also includes an event known as the “Comparsa de Gigantes” (The Company of Giants). Giant puppets are paraded through the city each morning throughout the duration of the festival. These puppets represent the mythical kings and queens of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.
At midnight on the 14th people gather in the Plaza Consistorial and sing Pobre de Mi (Poor Me) by candlelight to mark the end of the festival.