Running of the Bulls – Pamplona, Spain
The festival of San Fermin, or the Running of the Bulls as it’s more commonly known outside Spain, officially begins at midday on 6th July every year with the the mayor’s official announcement at Pamplona’s Casa Consistorial, that the fiestas have begun. A celebratory rocket is launched and the partying begins.
The history of Pamplona’s bullrunning is debatable but there is evidence of the festival from as far back as the 13th century and bullfighting fiestas which can be traced back to the 14th century. By the 19th century all kinds of visitors and fairground attractions were making their way to Pamplona, whose bull run still didn’t have the security wall used today and as a result allowed bulls an easy escape and an invite to create chaos in the town. Writer Ernest Hemingway is credited for giving the event international appeal through his novel “The Sun Also Rises” which soon brought the festival visitors from around the world.
From July 7-14th, the bull run occurs every morning at 8am (8 total). Runners must be in the running area by 7.30am. The run averages about 3 minutes to cover 825 meters. Runners are all dressed in white and a red hankerchief around their necks. The most dangerous part of the bullrun occurs as runners approach a closed curve right before the longest stretch of the run. These narrow streets and the increasing number of participants, make this a highly dangerous event to join, with 15 people being killed and over 200 being seriously injured since 1924.
To be near the action, you can choose to just view the madness from behind or on top of the fences that mark the route of the bull run but the competition is high for these viewing stations.
Also, not widely discussed is the fact that every evening of San Fermin bullfights are held in the Pamplona bullring. But be advised, tickets can sell out fast since the arena only holds 12,500 people.