Running of the Bulls – San Fermin Festival

FROM The man in the front seat / July 12, 2013

The San Fermin Festival is celebrated every year in the city of Pamplona, Spain between 6-14th July. More than a 1 million people crowd into Pamplona during the 9 days to participate in many celebrations but without a doubt the most famous, probably the most famous in Spain, is the Running of the Bulls.

Each morning at 8am between 7th – 14th July people run the 825m (0.51m) from the Corralillos to the Plaza de Toros hotly pursued by 6 raging bulls. The event is over within 5min as the bulls pass through the Plaza de Toros to be prepared for the bullfights that evening. The runners however stay in the arena and young bulls, with their horns wrapped up, are released to wreak havoc to those waiting.

Runners, traditionally wear white trousers and shirt, an outfit that was common in the Middle Ages in many Spanish towns and villages when celebrating Feast or Saint days. For Saint Fermin however, the runners are all obliged to wear a red scarf which is rememberance to Saint Fermin, a Christian missionary of the 3rd century, who was executed by the Romans. The scarf is a memorial to his death with its location (around the neck) and its colour (red) reminding runners of his beheading.

The festival has existed since 1591, however when people started running with the bulls is a mystery. The bulls being moved through the city was common place with bull running appearing in 17th century chronicles but no exact date is known. The festival was made popular by Ernest Hemingway who brought it to the attention of the English speaking world with his book, The Sun Also Rises.

Hemingway came to Pamplona for the first time as a journalist in 1923 and continued to return up until 1959. He is still remembered to today through the Iruña Café where he use to drink, the Hotel La Perla where he use to stay and a monument to him outside the bullring.


Running of the Bulls – San Fermin Festival
The Sun Also Rises.
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