July 6th, 2009


Running with the bulls in Pamplona

The Fiestas de San Fermín started at noon today. Until July 14, Pamplona will host one of the world's biggest annual parties, with music, dancing, a fair, nightly fireworks, children's events, parades, religious processions — 500 events in all. And, of course, running with the bulls.

The official poster shown here, by Ángel Blanco Egoskozabal, depicts today's noontime kickoff tradition. I've stolen the description of the from the official website, which is well worth a visit: http://www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/propuestas/san-fermines/

"The rocket that inaugurates the fiesta of San Fermín is known as the chupinazo. At 12 noon on July 6th thousands of people fill City Hall Square to overflowing. With great expectation, accompanied by chants, shouting and cheering, the crowd dressed in red and white waits for a member of the City Council to light the fuse of the rocket. To the shout of "Pamploneses, Viva San Fermín! Gora San Fermín!" the place erupts and thousands of red neck scarves are waved to welcome nine days of unparalleled fun."

The running of the bulls, called an encierro, takes place at 8 a.m. every day from July 7 to July 14. Each encierro goes 825 meters through the heart of downtown and usually takes about 3 minutes. On a good morning, no one gets hurt.

I'll be at home working on writing projects rather than partying and drinking non-stop day and night in Pamplona, but each morning I'll be watching the live television transmissions of the encierro. I'll post links so you can watch the videos. Viva San Fermín! Gora San Fermín!

— Sue Burke