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Monday, February 27, 2012 (read 1700 times)
 

Bull runs in Spain

by Kimberly

The bull run in Pamplona is one of the most famous festivals in the world, that everybody should enjoy once in their life.

The beginning of the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona is marked by the energetic explosion of a rocket (el txupinazo) launched from the roof of the city hall at midday on July 6, and this is a burst of energy which meanders through Pamplona´s streets and never seems to wean throughout the week-long festival.

            The festival was given cult status through the publication of the book Fiesta by Ernest Hemingway, and is now sits alongside the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and Oktoberfest and one of the most easily-recognized and notable worldwide festivals. The San Fermin festival causes the population of Pamplona to rise from around 200.000 to around 3 million people during the week in which it takes place, a feat which is no less than spectacularly impressive and serves to demonstrate the growing popularity of the festival´s carnival atmosphere.

            A hospitable, friendly, warm and energetic atmosphere is created by the local residents and visitors alike who come together in unison to celebrate this "different" religious festival, which therefore means that no-one is excluded and anyone who is willing to participate in the carnival atmosphere is welcomed with brotherly open arms.

            What sets San Fermines apart and defines it as a particularly Spanish festival are the daily morning bull runs. The running of the bulls begins at 8 am every day from July 7-14 and normally last somewhere between two and three minutes, although this can tend to vary. You don´t even have to be a local resident to take part in these bull runs – all that is asked is that you position yourself somewhere along the route of the bull runs and that you respect these routes. San Fermin therefore truly is a celebration for everyone to join in with.

            One of the other highlights of the San Fermin festival is the Riau Riau, which takes place at 4.30 pm on the afternoon of July 6, following the launch of the txupinazo from the city hall. This event is not to be missed, as it involves a procession where all of those who have descended on the streets of Pamplona to witness the opening of the festival join together in unison with the players of various brass instruments to sway to the sounds of Astráin´s Waltz. The procession is a 500 meter explosion of sound and colour, leading from the town hall and culminating at Pamplona´s church, and is truly a spectacular highlight of the festival.

            At midnight on July 14, the festival of San Fermin comes to an end as all of the tourists and locals who have joined arm in arm over the previous week in celebration come together outside of the city hall to sing Pobre de Mí. This is a song which demonstrates the sadness felt at the end of the festival, but is also accompanied by another entitled Ya falta menos, which demonstrates the local and worldwide affection felt for the festival, and the longing for it to return the following year.

            The festival of San Fermin in Pamplona is a celebration of national plurality, and of worldwide brotherhood and friendship. It is certainly more than deserving of its mention alongside such famous festivals as the Rio de Janeiro carnival or the Munich Oktoberfest, and will be an unforgettable experience for anyone who becomes part of its warm and receptive carnival atmosphere.


Keywords: san fermines pamplona, running of the bulls, sanfermines, pamplona, hemingway

Posted In: Spain, Culture

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