What is the craziest party in the world? There is no doubt that the answer is the Running of the bulls of San Fermin in Pamplona. Every summer hundreds of young runners from all over the world gather to try their luck by running from a group of bulls on the run. This small Spanish village every July the 6th begins the festivities in honour of its patron saint, San Fermin, although the most famous and fascinating of the celebrations is the “bull”, or the running of the bulls. The party begins at noon on July 6 with the launch of the rocket (the chupinazo) from the balcony of the City Hall and thereafter each morning at 8 o’clock a group of six bulls and a few steers are released from pens at the base of the hill of Santo Domingo.
From here the bulls chase through the streets of the old city, from Plaza Consistorial to Mercaderes street, passing through Estafeta Street until you enter the Plaza de Toros. If you want to run the race know that it is open to all who provide proof of age, are sober and lucid, which is not easy, as the habit of staying up late partying during those days is regular. The race, however, is not without its risks and each year some naive tourists end up bruised at the emergency room. If you prefer to watch the race from a secure location you can just rent a place in one of the private balconies along the route or take a seat in the Plaza de Toros. The entry of riders and bulls in the square is quite spectacular. The festival of San Fermin is not limited to the running of the bulls every morning. In fact, along the streets of Pamplona the Parade of the Giants is held, where you can dance between the huge paper mache masks and every night you can enjoy the sky illuminated by a fireworks show.
The Feast of San Fermin ends on July the 15 when the Pamplona residents join in the Plaza de Castillo and from here a procession by candlelight to the old cathedral is held. The official closing is marked by fireworks launched at midnight.
By Elsi H