The Running of The Bulls in Pamplona – The Bulls take back what is rightfully theirs.

July 7, 2008

lets hear it for the bulls

Lets hear it for the bulls shall we? This week in the usually sleepy Spanish town of Pamplona, the 9 day festival of San Fermin has erupted onto the cobbled streets. From the 6th July when pyrotechnics or, more traditionally, gunfire and cannon fire mark the start of this festival in the Navarre region, until the 14th July when the festival is closed with the singing of Pobre de mi, the town becomes a riot. Literally a bloodbath. The 2 week long festival in homage to Saint Fermin is the wildest street party in the world and if you want to experience it you have to participate. But if you want to live through it you have to avoid the rampaging bulls.

Rampaging bulls weighing half a ton or more each, with filed down horns half a metre long, running on wet cobblestones at 30 mph is really the only way to throw a good party these days. If there are not herds of wild beasts marauding, starved, thirsty and angry then they are no fun. To make it extra special you get the bulls really agitated by having locals wield newspapers and strike the animals savagely on the nose with them in a show of true bravery and defiance. That, or have drunk and/or brainless Americans saunter about clueless or a herd of reprobate students who have read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and think it is brave to provoke an angry bull. Mix with alcohol and loud music and voila, the perfect street party.

The first running of the bulls, or el encerro to give it its Spanish name, was probably held some 500 hundred years ago or longer, records are not accurate enough to say, but records detailing the bloody revenge of the bulls in Pamplona date back only as far as 1910. The origins of the suicide mission come from when the bulls used to be transported from their compounds outside of the city to the amphitheatre they would later die in, and the local young men would jump in with the bulls to show bravado, much like a joy rider from Kings Heath will steal a car and mingle with the traffic on the M6.

On the morning of each day during the festival, a rocket sounds the beginning of the race and the early risers (for the running start at 8 am) bolt. The entrance requirement is merely to be male and alive. The course runs, like the Krypton factor, for some 800 metres. Up Santo Domingo and across the main square and depending on weather conditions, the entrance to Estafeta offer some of the most comical highlights of any race. Are we supposed to feel guilt or sorrow for people who willingly get into a race with 2 dozen huge animals and get hurt in the proceedings? No. This is about the bulls. An apology to the bulls who regardless of how they fare or how much entertainment they bring, are still slaughtered at the end of the el encerro.

Every bull in this video is killed later the same day. For a country that prides itself on the bravery of such sport, the cowardice shown to the bulls is a contradiction is it not? And since the bulls cant defend themselves, Taketheblame would like to offer its apologies on behalf of a nation that wont. Sorry bulls.

Join the dicsussion and Leave a comment


Powered by Facebook Comments

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *