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July 7

 Saint Fermin

Saint Fermin (also Firmin, from Latin Firminus; Spanish Fermín) is a legendary holy man and martyr, traditionally venerated as the patron saint of Pamplona, the capital of Navarre. His death may be associated with either the Decian (250) or Diocletianic persecution (303).

Although he is said to have lived in the third century, Fermin's legend is a creation of the ninth century. It probably originates in the diocese of Toulouse, which endeavored to spread the cult of the first bishop of Toulouse, Saturninus, by creating subsidiary cults, of which Fermin's is one. If there was a historical Fermin he is wholly unknown and was probably no more than a name on a tombstone around which an edifying legend was crafted.

According to the legend, a senator from Pamplona named Firmus was converted to Christianity by Honestus and persuaded Saturninus to come to Pamplona to baptise him. There the bishop preached to large crowds and baptised some 40,000 people over three days. Firmus's son, Firminus (Fermin), was entrusted to Honestus for his Christian education and at age 31 went to Toulouse to be consecrated by Saturninus's successor, Honoratus. Fermin then went to preach in northern Gaul, where he became associated with the city of Amiens. He was persecuted and ultimately martyred.

Fermin's feast is celebrated in Pamplona with a series of festivities, the Sanfermines, including the famous Running of the Bulls. He is also venerated at Amiens.

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Pamplona, Navarra, Spain

The festival of San Fermín is a week long, historically rooted celebration held annually in the city of Pamplona, Navarra, in northern Spain. The celebrations start at noon on July 6 and continue until midnight on July 14. A firework starts off the celebrations and the popular song Pobre de mí is sung at the end. The most famous event is the running of the bulls, which begins at 8 in the morning from July 6 to 14, but the festival involves many other traditional and folkloric events. It is known locally as Sanfermines and is held in honor of Saint Fermin, the co-patron of Navarre.

The key day of the festival is July 7, when thousands of people accompany the 15th-century statue of Saint Fermin through the old part of Pamplona. The statue is accompanied by dancers and street entertainers, and different political and religious authorities including the city mayor. During procession a Jota (an ancient traditional dance) is performed for the saint, a rose is offered in the Saint Fermin well, and the "gigantes" (enormous wood-framed and papier-mâché puppet figures managed from inside) dance and twirl while the cathedral bell named María (Mary) ring.

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Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe


  • 2.2 pounds Philadelphia cream cheese or mascarpone, room temperature

  • 7 eggs

  • 2 cups sugar 

  • 1 tablespoon of flour

  • 6.5 oz heavy cream 


  1. Preheat the oven to 410°F.

  2. Using an electric mixer, paddle, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.

  3. Line a 10 inch (25 cm) springform pan or round baking pan with enough wax or parchment paper that it extends past the edges of the pan. This will help you remove the cheesecake from the pan later on, and will prevent it from sticking. You can use a smaller pan for a higher cheesecake but may need to bake longer so that the center isn't too runny.

  4. Bake on the center rack for 40-50 minutes. The cake will rise quite a bit but don't worry -- it will settle when it’s out of the oven. If the cake isn't quite burnt enough on top turn the heat up for another minute or two, being careful it doesn't burn too much. If you like the center runny, remove at 35 minutes.

  5. When the cake is brown and almost burnt looking, turn the oven off. The center shouldn’t be completely set. It will wiggle when you move the pan (like Jello!)

  6. Let it start to cool gradually by leaving it out on the counter. After an hour or so, move the cake to the fridge to cool completely.

  7. After a few hours in the refrigerator (overnight is best), your cheesecake should be chilled enough to cut. Don’t remove the cake from the parchment paper until it’s ready to be cut, because it could start to lose its shape.

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