July 7th, 2011

Weather vane

The bulls are running in Pamplona

The Saint Fermin fiesta has begun, and this morning bulls ran through the streets of Pamplona.

This year's official poster is a play on words. "To get yourself wet" could be translated as "take the plunge" or "get involved," even "take a risk." There's plenty to do at the fiesta besides bulls: music, dancing, parades, fireworks, religious services, and children's activities.

And lots of drinking. More people die by getting drunk and falling off the city walls or falling into the river and drowning than at the horns of a bull. In fact, no one has been gored to death since 1995. Perhaps that's because Saint Fermin protects the runners, but drunks don't have a patron saint that I know of.

The fiesta opened yesterday at noon, and two foreign tourists were soon hospitalized because, as foreign tourists tend to do, they climbed up to the top of the big fountain in the Plaza de Navarrería and jumped, expecting to be caught by the crowd below, but sometimes the crowd isn't up to the job. Alcohol at work.

Today was the first of eight runs: no gorings, four minor injuries from bruises and cuts, and plenty of wine-stained fools making potentially fatal errors.

You can watch the runs here:

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the run, courtesy of the Pamplona municipal government, in English:

— Sue Burke