Running of the Bulls
|Running of the Bulls (encierro)|
The bull run in
The Running of the Bulls (in
The most famous running of the bulls is held during the nine-day festival of
The origin of this event comes from the need to transport the bulls from the fields outside the city, where they were bred, to the
Spanish tradition says the true origin of the run began in northeastern Spain during the early 14th century. While transporting cattle in order to sell them at the market, men would try to speed the process by hurrying their cattle using tactics of fear and excitement. After years of this practice, the transportation and hurrying began to turn into a competition, as young adults would attempt to race in front of the bulls and make it safely to their pens without being overtaken. When the popularity of this practice increased and was noticed more and more by the expanding population of Spanish cities, a tradition was created and stands to this day.
In Pamplona, a set of wooden fences are erected to direct the bulls along the route and to block off side streets. A double wooden fence is used in those areas where there is enough space, while in other parts the buildings of the street act as barriers. The gaps in the barricades are wide enough for a human to slip through but narrow enough to block a bull. The fence is composed of approximately three thousand separate pieces of wood. Some parts of the fence remain in place for the duration of the fiesta, while others are placed and removed each morning. Spectators can only stand behind the second fence, whereas the space between the two fences is reserved for security and medical personnel and also to participants who need cover during the event.
The encierro begins with runners singing a benediction. It is sung three times, each time being sung both in Spanish and
A first rocket is set off at 8 a.m. to alert the runners that the corral gate is open. A second rocket signals that all six bulls have been released. The third and fourth rockets are signals that all of the
The encierro is usually composed of the six bulls to be
The length of the run is 875 meters (957 yards). It goes through four streets of the old part of the city (Santo Domingo, Ayuntamiento, Mercaderes and Estafeta) via the Town Hall Square and the short section "Telefónica" (named for the location of the old telephone office at end of Calle Estafeta) just before entering into the bullring through its callejón (tunnel). The fastest part of the route is up Santo Domingo and across the Town Hall Square, but the bulls often became separated at the entrance to Estafeta Street as they slowed down. One or more would slip going into the turn at Estafeta ("la curva"), resulting in the installation of anti-slip surfacing, and now most of the bulls negotiate the turn onto Estafeta and are often ahead of the steers. This has resulted in a quicker run. Runners are not permitted in the first 50 meters of the encierro, which is an uphill grade where the bulls are much faster.[
Every year, between 50 and 100 people are injured during the run. Not all of the injuries require taking the patients to the hospital: in 2013, 50 people were taken by ambulance to Pamplona's hospital, with this number nearly doubling that of 2012.
Goring is much less common but potentially life threatening. In 2013, for example, six participants were gored along the festival, in 2012, only four runners were injured by the horns of the bulls with exactly the same number of gored people in 2011, nine in 2010 and 10 in 2009; with one of the latter killed. As most of the runners are male, only 5 women have been gored since 1974. Before that date, running was prohibited for women.
Another major risk is runners falling and piling up (a "montón") at the entrance of the bullring, which acts as a funnel as it is much narrower than the previous street. In such cases injuries come both from
Overall, since record-keeping began in 1910, 15 people have been killed in the bull running of Pamplona, most of them due to being gored. To minimize the impact of injuries every day 200 people collaborate in the medical attention. They are deployed in 16 sanitary posts (every 50 metres on average), each one with at least a physician and a nurse among their personnel. Most of these 200 people are volunteers, mainly from the
|Year||Name||Age||Origin||Location||Cause of death|
|1927||Santiago Zufía||34||Navarre, Spain||Bullring||Goring|
|1947||Casimiro Heredia||37||Navarre, Spain||Estafeta||Goring|
|1947||Julián Zabalza||23||Navarre, Spain||Bullring||Goring|
|1961||Vicente Urrizola||32||Navarre, Spain||Santo Domingo||Goring|
|1969||Hilario Pardo||45||Navarre, Spain||Santo Domingo||Goring|
|1974||Juan Ignacio Eraso||18||Navarre, Spain||Telefónica||Goring|
|1975||Gregorio Gorriz||41||Navarre, Spain||Bullring||Goring|
|1977||José Joaquín Esparza||17||Navarre, Spain||Bullring||Suffocated in a pile-up.|
|1980||José Antonio Sánchez||26||Navarre, Spain||Town Hall Square||Goring|
|1995||Matthew Peter Tassio||22||Town Hall Square||Goring|
|2003||Fermín Etxeberria||62||Navarre, Spain||Mercaderes||Hit by a horn|
|2009||Daniel Jimeno Romero||27||Telefónica||Goring|
Though there is no formal dress code, the very common and traditional attire is white pants, white shirt with a red scarf around the waist and a red handkerchief around the neck. Another common dress practice, seen as a risk by some but as a daring depiction of courage by others is dressing in a conspicuous manner. Many runners that want to be seen wear colors other than white, a common alternate color choice is blue. Others include large logos on their shirt to capture the attention of the bulls. In the age of social media explosion, this is also thought to be a way to highlight someone in a photo.
The encierro of Pamplona has been depicted many times in literature, television or advertising, but became known worldwide partly because of the descriptions of
The run appears in the 2011
Running with Bulls, a 2012 documentary of the festival filmed by Construct Creatives and presented by Jason Farrel, depicts the pros and cons of the controversial tradition.
Since 2014, the
In 2014, the eBook guide, Fiesta: How To Survive The Bulls Of Pamplona, caused headlines around the world when one of the contributors was gored by a bull soon after its publication. (See