This week the annual Running of the Bulls took place in Pamplona, Spain. Every year from the 6th to the 14th of July the fiestas of San Fermin are celebrated in Pamplona. These fiestas are celebrated in honor of San Fermin, a patron saint of Navarra, the region of Spain where Pamplona is located. Though the religious aspects of the festival seem to have taken a secondary role over the last number of years, the fiestas are now seen as a mass gathering of people from around the world to enjoy several adrenaline-pumping events.
The Encierro, the running of the bulls, is the event at the heart of the Sanfermines and makes this fiesta an international sensation. The event was born out of necessity, to get the bulls from outside the city into the bullring. The Encierro starts at the corral in Calle Santo Domingo when the clock chimes 8:00. The launching of two rockets signals the beginning of the race. The bulls chase runners for 825 meters, and while it may take a lot of time to set up, the event usually only lasts for about three or four minutes. Bulls participating in the run are released in two stages. First released are the six fighting bulls that will fight in that evening’s bullfight. They are accompanied by guides called mansos. Two minutes later, the second group of bullocks is released. This “sweep-up” group, usually slower than the first group, is let out to lead any bulls that might have stopped.
Once all bulls have all entered the bullring, a third rocket is fired. The launch of a fourth and final rocket indicates that all the bulls are safely in the corral located inside the bullring and that the Bull Run has ended. Once in the arena, the dobladores, usually ex-bullfighters, take position to help the runners fan out and move to the sides. While the event may sound very dangerous, there have only been 15 deaths since 1910. There are many safety precautions taken to ensure that everyone is safe and has fun!
For more information on the Running of the Bulls visit: www.bullrunpamplona.com/