Here is a little culture for our Spanish learners:
Yesterday, the first of the famous bull runs has taken place in Pamplona. It is part of a fiesta in honour of San Fermin, the patron saint of Navarra. The festival dates back to the 13th century, and the bull run originally served to get the bulls from their chorral outside the city into the bullring. At some point people started running with the bulls.
Nowadays, the Encierro, or bull run, itself has become the more famous spectacle.
For a week, every morning at 8 o'clock the fighting bulls run on the street lined with hundreds of crazy thrill seekers from all over the world. Unlike bullfights, which are performed by professional toreros, anyone older than 18 may participate in an encierro. They run along, get chased by the beasts and sometimes people get gored and severely injured - or even killed.
The route is 825 metres long and takes the bulls around three minutes to complete.
Spectators can also watch the event from behind a wooden fence or await runners and animals in the bullfighting arena.
Chants to San Fermin
Before the start runners stand just behind where the bulls are waiting and raise their rolled newspapers and chant to an image of San
Fermin: "A San Fermin pedimos, por ser nuestro patron, nos guie en el
encierro dandonos su bendicion." (We ask San Fermin, being our patron
saint, to guide us in the bull run and give us his blessing). When they
finish they shout "Viva San Fermin!, Gora San Fermin."