The city of Pamplona is the capital of Navarre, Spain and bears great historical significance with great Basque heritage. Pamplona is housed on the mountains and is famous for many things – the rich culture, Michelin-star restaurants, exquisite cuisines and enthralling festivals. One festival that stands out from all the attractions and festivals of this majestic city is the festival of San Fermin or ‘La Feria de San Fermin’.
The festival of San Fermin, in ordinary words, imply ‘running of bulls’. The grand Pamplona Bull Festival takes place every year in the month of July from 6th to 14th. This enthralling festival dates back to the 13th century and was again recognized in the year 1923 by Ernest Hemingway, known as Papa, who brought out the true spirit of the festival making it the most celebrated festival of the country. The adventurous Bull Run starts every early morning during the festival at eight o’clock, wherein six bulbous bulls and six steers are released onto the narrow streets crowded with viewers on the other side of the barricade while the runners, known as Sanfermines, run along ahead of the deadly bulls. The half a mile adventurous journey leads to a giant bull ring where the bull fight takes place. The runners, Sanfermines, are required to dress up in white shirts and white trousers and wear a bright red neckerchief in honor of Papa whose ghost is believed to roam even today all around Pamplona at least during the month of July.
To be a part of this adventurous Pamplona Bull Festival viewers need to buy tickets (thousands of which are sold in advance) and tickets which are sold an evening before the bull fights are offered usually at the Plaza de Toros at escalated prices. A stone-carved statue of the great Papa nests near the bull ring and is garlanded with beautiful bright red neckerchiefs, the accessory the runners are required to wear. The angry-looking bulls run along the barricaded streets raging their anger on the runners who come in their way, attacking them with their horns which could sometimes prove to be fatal. The runners try to dodge these attacks but continue racing the bulls creating a lively environment filling up the city of Pamplona. Thousands of excited viewers jam the roads and crowd the top of the buildings to witness the fantastic festival, cheering and clapping for the Sanfermines and holding or wearing the bright red neckerchiefs in honor of the festival. Pamplona drools in the spirit of the festival, celebrating the nine days of Pamplona Bull Festival with extreme fun and entertainment.
The Pamplona Bull Festival is the pride of Spain and attracts tourists from diverse spheres of the world to witness the beauty of this sport. One can see hundreds of tourists taking part in the festival just for the sake of fun and pleasure. However, recent years have witnessed protests from animal experts demonstrating against the running of the bulls and bull fights, calling these celebrated festivals as ‘running of the nudes’. In spite of this anti- Bull Run and bull fight activities; these festivals are celebrated with great pride even today.