As Abha already mentioned in one of her posts, the 9-day bull-running festival in Pamplona, Northern Spain, started today.
BBC reports that today’s run only took 4 minutes and claimed thirteen injured people. Although the injuries were mostly cuts and bruises suffered by people falling over or getting trampled by one of the six bulls set loose, some more serious injuries were reported.
One man suffered a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen and broken ribs. Another, 23-year old man from Ireland, died after falling from the city’s walls. (This actually happened yesterday and had nothing to do with being chased by the bulls though.)
Here is how the festival works. “Up to six bulls and a number of steers are released at 8 a.m. from a pen into a closed-off street. They then run 825m (2,700ft) to the bullring, where they face matadors later in the day. Ahead of them are the runners, who try to stay as close to the bulls as possible without falling or being gored,” BBC reports.
Today, the sprint through the cobbled streets apparently turned chaotic after the pack bulls became separated after ploughing into a crowd of people. Ouch.
It is quite amazing that “only” 14 people have been killed during the festival since record-keeping began in 1924.
Spain is is known to create their own festivals because, oh, it’s fun! Anything to have a party and drink on a large scale.
Most of the festivals have some deep-rooted historical connections to a saint, but other than that, Spaniards do not have solid reasons for celebrations, nor will majority be able to explain the root of the traditions.
Two such festivals, now famous as they’ve become tradition are 1) The Tomatina: where people get together in the street to throw tomatoes at each other, 2) San Fermin: where people get chased by bulls for the fun of it — a festival that started today in Pamplona, and runs till July 14.
So this is how it works: people get drunk the night before, at 8am runners put on white shirts and red scarfs and prepare to race with the bulls along an 800-meter path. The idea is to beat the bulls to it or you will get trampled to serious injury or in some cases even death. The afternoons are normally filled with bull-fights.
Of course, the main runners are professionals who practice for this festival, but there are always the over-enthusiastic and semi-drunk tourists who think they should have a go at it. Although only 13 deaths have been registered since the festival began in 1924, the tourists are the ones who always get severely injured.
This time round, 9 people have already been injured and one has died from falling off a wall after a night of binge drinking.
This festival is worth going to to experience the craze and the chaos that Spaniards are known for, but be sure to book way in advance. Getting a hostel or finding place in a bar that over looks the street on which people run, is the best situation you can be in to enjoy this stuff safely.