Dressing for the fiesta, or how to look like a Pamplonica
The official dress for all events during the fiesta is the traditional festival costume of white and red: white shirt and pants, red pañuelico (bandana) and red faja (sash). The “official costume”, which is also worn by Pelota players in Navarra and the Basque country, can be purchased in Pamplona at any of the clothing stores around the city, including El Corte Inglés, Spain’s leading department store. Or better still, to insure the proper size and fit, you can bring your own pair of white pants (chinos, jeans) and a short-sleeved white polo style shirt or jersey.
The traditional pañuelico, the red bandana, is donned at noon on the 6th with the firing of the rockets, the chupinazo, during the opening ceremony, not before, and is not taken off and put away until midnight of the 14th, during the Pobre de mí, the closing ceremony.
Peña Seattle de Sanfermines provides the pañuelico for our clients. Additional pañuelicos and the fajas, can be purchased from one of the many street vendors you’ll find in and around the old quarter. Men, women and children wear the same red and white costume. Ladies can wear either all white or a mixture of red and white, red blouse, white skirt or pants (but not shorts), red bag and shoes. Dressing in San Fermín attire will allow you to integrate smoothly and completely into the spirit of the fiesta.
You might want to note at hotel laundry service is limited on the 6th and 7th, so be sure to bring enough clothes to see you through the first two days. Also, clothing stores, as well as most other shops in the city, will be closed by mid morning on July 6, if they open at all, for the opening ceremony, and all day on the 7th, an official banking holiday in Pamplona, and Sunday. You’ll need to check the schedule to see if El Corte Inglés will be open on Sunday, but it is normally open from 10:00 to 10:00 daily. Other retail stores, except those selling festival-related items, close for lunch, with only a few reopening in the afternoon, after 4:30 pm.
It is also important that you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes as you will be doing a great deal of walking around the city day and night. Although the historic quarter of the city isn’t large, the fiesta is spread out over a much wider area, with music venues and special events being held in different parks and plazas, some up to a half-hour walk, or further, from the Plaza del Castillo, the heart of the old quarter and the center of the fiesta. And while Pamplona does an amazing job of keeping the streets and plazas clean, you will inevitably encounter broken glass somewhere along the way, especially following the opening ceremony, the early morning hours of the 7th, and on weekend mornings when the crowds are at their largest.