The summer is a special time in Spain. Like many other towns and villages in Navarre and beyond, Azagra celebrates its annual fiesta at this time of year. Reminiscent of Pamplona’s world famous San Fermín festival, Azagra’s celebrations provide locals, dressed in red and white, with the chance to proudly celebrate their village and its traditions.
In a party that would make Hemingway proud, the fiesta explodes in Azagra on 7 September, as fireworks (chupinazo) are set off and the celebrations begin. After toasting the launch, the whole village comes out in the evening to see the 14th-century gothic statue of the village’s patron, the Virgin of the Elm, brought down from the basilica to the parish church.
A procession and mass in the Virgin’s name take place the following day. After those solemn religious events comes the party, with music, dancing and plenty of food and drink. The local tradition of parading large papier mâché figures – called giants and bigheads – around the streets is a special sight to see. And Azagra’s bull runs are another unmissable part of the celebrations, attracting visitors from all over.
Attending Azagra’s summer celebrations is an excellent way to forget everyday stresses and worries while making new friends and creating new traditions. Of course, this year is an exceptional one in so many ways that it’s no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic has also done away with our annual celebrations. September 2021 awaits, however, when we hope we can get back to normal… fiesta and all.
After those solemn religious events comes the party, with music, dancing and plenty of food and drink.