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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
The Running Of The Bulls At San Fermín Fiestas
running of the bulls
The running of the bulls is the main attraction in this famous celebration that turns Pamplona into one non-stop fiesta.
The city of Pamplona is world famous thanks to its San Fermín fiestas. Thousands of people come every year to experience the risk and excitement of the popular running of the bulls, immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in his novel Fiesta. For nine days, Pamplona residents and visitors alike, dressed typically in red and white, get carried away by the continuous festive spirit that invades the streets.
San Fermín starts 6 July at midday. At that moment the chupinazo is launched from the balcony of the town hall. It is a rocket that marks the official start of the fiesta, causing an outburst of joy amidst the crowd gathered in the square. The first running of the bulls is held the following day: at 8am sharp the doors of the Santo Domingo corral are opened, and hundreds of people run in front of the bulls on their route through the old town to the bullring.
This brief yet intense race is repeated every day 7-14 July. It covers 825 metres and lasts barely three minutes. The launching of rockets indicates the different parts of the race to participants: the first rocket signals the opening of the corral gates; the second means that all the bulls are out; the third, this one in the square, marks the entrance of the bulls into the ring; the fourth means they are in the bullpen and that the race is over. One of the most exciting moments happens a few minutes before the start of the running of the bulls, when runners entrust themselves to San Fermín, singing three times in front of a small statue on Cuesta de Santo Domingo Street.
running of the bulls
Furthermore, every morning during the fiestas there is a parade of “giants and big-heads” through the centre of the city, for the little ones to enjoy. The festive programme also includes open-air celebrations, concerts, dance exhibitions and, of course, bullfights. They tend to be lively events, as organised groups of bullfighting fans pack the stands. San Fermín finishes 14th July at midnight, when the crowds make their way to the Town Hall Square and, with candles alight, sing “Pobre de mí”, to bid farewell to the fiesta until the following year.