'Running of the Bulls' in Pamplona While the Pamplona Running of the Bulls is the most renowned and well-known bull race, the tradition has been carried on around the world. Many cities, states, and nations have their own bull races, which are frequently inspired by the San Fermin Festival. Not only do people come to watch the bulls run, but they also come to see the blood, gore, and mayhem that accompany this dangerous sport.
The first recorded "Running of the Bulls" took place in 1576 in Pamplona, Spain. An annual festival was being held in honor of Saint Fermin, and during one of the events a group of farmers led several hundred head of cattle down the main street of the town at night. There were no fences or barriers between the runners and the bulls, and many people died every year because they were trampled to death by the hooves or horns of the charging animals. After this incident, the festival organizers decided to end the nightly run of the bulls.
However, over time the festival organizers realized that there was great publicity value in showing the crowds of people how strong and aggressive these cows are, so they decided to bring back the bulls for another round. Nowadays, the bulls are set loose from a nearby corral around midnight and can be seen running down the streets of Pamplona trying to unnerve its opponents before they are captured about an hour later.
History of Pamplona The most renowned bull-run is the encierro, which takes place in Pamplona during the nine-day Sanfermines celebration in honor of Saint Fermin. It has evolved into a huge global tourism event, distinct from the old, local celebration. The runners wear red shirts and run with knives strapped to their backs. They are trying to outrun the bulls who have been released from their pens.
The first evidence that people in Spain were running with bulls dates back to 1476. However, it was not until the early 20th century that this practice became popular among aficionados of bullfighting. Today, over 10,000 people participate in the encierro. Although nobody knows exactly how many bulls are killed during the course of the event because the carcasses are burned after they are dragged through the streets by horses, estimates range from around 200 to 300.
Pamplona has been known as la ciudad del Encefalitis since 1872, when its port became a stop on the railroad line that connected Madrid with Barcelona. Today, it is also a hub for travelers to France's Basque Country, where the language is closely related to Spanish. In fact, some consider it to be a dialect of Navarro rather than of Castilian.
Pamplona has been voted one of Europe's most beautiful cities several times, most recently in 1994.
The Running of the Bulls is an annual event in Pamplona, Spain, during which six bulls are released into the cobblestone streets before being herded into the city's bullring. Participants show their bravery by attempting to avoid the enraged bulls on their way to the city center. The festival originated in 1591 when King Charles II of Spain issued a decree that the townspeople should have some fun during their annual San Fermin festival. Until then, they had been celebrating their patron saint's day by dancing and drinking heavily for five days straight without stopping for breath.
In 1835, the government enacted new laws to try to curb the violence that had become associated with the festival; participants were now allowed to join the herd of bulls or force them toward certain areas of the town square. These measures seemed to work: By 1900, only two people died during the festival (both from heart attacks caused by exhaustion).
However, the number of fatalities started to rise again after World War II. In 1960, with the death of a young man during one of the early runs, the mayor decided to make the event completely sanitary by having paramedics attend to anyone who needed medical help. Since then, dozens of people have been injured and sometimes killed during the festival. Some have fallen while trying to escape over the fences used by the runners to contain the bulls; others have been gored by sharp horns or trampled underfoot by crowds eager to see blood.
We enjoy welcoming visitors to Pamplona and telling them about the rich history of the Running of the Bulls, which stretches back to the 13th century. The origins of the yearly bull rushes in Spain, like several of the world's most recognized traditions, are surprisingly utilitarian and had no relation with the San Fermin Festival at first.
The tradition began when villagers would run after their local bull herd to drive them away from their crops and homes. As you can imagine, this got pretty dangerous for the people involved, so over time they decided to use the bulls themselves as a deterrent. Today's runners are usually members of the local community who dress up as bulls to scare away birds from their fields or protect their crops. Although there have been attempts to stop the practice, it remains popular especially with tourists who want to experience something different.
The first recorded evidence of the Running of the Bulls is in a document dated 1284. At that time, it was known as "Los Caminantes" or "The Walkers." It wasn't until more than 100 years later that it became associated with San Fermín de la Navarra and today's celebration. During that period, it was common for farmers to march behind their own herds to protect their crops.
As you can see, the origin of the event is quite practical and not at all religious. It started out as a way for farmers to keep their livestock away from valuable crops and eventually used animals instead.