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This week in Pamplona, Spain, over 1,000,000 people will attend the San Fermin festival and thousands will participate in the encierro or the running of the bulls.  This festival is held every year from July 6-14. The first bull running is on July 7, followed by one on each of the following mornings of the festival, beginning every day at 8 a.m.

This traditional event is 100 years in the making, yet only became internationally famous when Ernest Hemingway romanticized the event in his novel, The Sun Also Rises.  The event is dangerous for both man and bull; the animals will actually meet their deaths in the bull-fighting arena throughout the day, and over 300 people will be injured (sometimes, tragically, there are human deaths.) It is mostly brave young men who enter – you must be over 18 and officially sign up each morning of the festival.

Though the most famous part of the festival, bull-running is not the only attraction. One of the other known traditions of the festival are daily parades which showcase lavishly dressed actors and dancers. Most notably are the ‘Bigheads‘ or ‘Cabezudos‘ – people wear oversized paper mache heads to represent popular political or historical figures.

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  1. Running-of-the-BullsNo Gravatar
    Posted February 27, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you for bringing up the rest of the San Fermin Festival! When I first went to Pamplona, I had no idea all the other cultural and religious traditions existed. After you’re done running with the bulls (or watching from a balcony) it is really incredible to see the Procession of San Fermin, for example. Actually, this occurs before the first run, because it happens on the 6th, just after the Txupinazo, or Opening Ceremonies. I highly recommend it!

  2. PamplonaManNo Gravatar
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Awesome event on a world scale as the 2nd biggest festival in the world ! The festival officially kicks off at 12 noon on July 6th, however my partner & I prefer the day before, the 5th July. Its amazing, you can actually see pamplona changing before your eyes & the excitment that has built up for the locals in anticipation for their wonderful festival. Viva San Fermin!

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