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The Festival of San Fermin

Pamplona�s running of the bulls.

The Festival of San Fermin that takes place each year in July is one of Spain�s biggest festivals. It�s a week-long revelry (from July 6th � 14th) that honours Pamplona�s Patron Saint. You should know it � it�s famous all over the globe, although perhaps not for all the right reasons.

The locals know it as San Fermines. We know it as Pamplona�s running of the bulls.

It�s actually a festival that follows centuries of tradition, and unknown to most around the globe, it isn�t just a week-long bull fight and bull running. In the tradition of most festivals honouring patron saints, it also includes numerous religious processions, concerts, parades, marching bands, food and all night revelry and drinking. But it is the daily running of the bulls, and the nightly bullfights, which have captured the imagination of most curious travellers. And whether you�re against animal cruelty or simply enthralled by the prospect of being chased by panting horned beasts, this festival is worth a moment�s consideration. Three minutes even.

Each morning during the Festival of San Fermin, a herd of bulls (6 �fighting� bulls and a few other �tame� bulls) are released from Santo Domingo. They stampede down barricaded streets � from Santo Domingo to Placa Consistorial, along Estafeta St and through the winding Mercaderes, to be herded into the bullring at Placa del Toro. They chase � and are chased by � a bunch of thrill seeking locals and tourists in traditional bull fighter gear � white shirt and pants, with red scarf and belt. It lasts an entire 3 minutes. It�s a dangerous event, and although everyone is welcome to run, there have been 14 recorded deaths since 1924 and some serious injuries as well.

Not sure if your guts are up to the spectacle, or if your legs would support you with snorting, sweaty bulls running behind? Remember that the festival is not only about bulls! Join in on other festival activities in Pamplona, or better yet, in PETA�s annual Running of the Nudes. Begun 5 years ago as an animal-friendly alternative to the bull runs and to demonstrate compassion against bull fighting, the Running of the Nudes is now its own must-see spectacle in Pamplona. Held a day before the festival starts, you can join in with PETA supporters to run, sing and dance the same course taken by the bulls. Dressed only in plastic bull horns and a red scarf of course! For more information on this event, check out the website

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