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Load of bull? PDF
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:00

El 7 de Julio heralds the start of the Fiesta de San Fermín in Pamplona, Navarra, N. Spain.  This is the bullfight festival made famous by Ernest Hemingway in books like Fiesta, The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon.

At 8.00am a rocket fired into the sky signals the start of the encierro, or bull-running, which takes place every morning for a fortnight through the streets of this Basque town. Hundreds of brave, or drunk, men and women from all over the world line up dressed in the traditional red and white to run alongside the bulls.  Armed with rolled up newspapers to try to fend off any bull that gets too close, the kilometre from the stables to the bullring along a fenced-off channel through the old town takes a mere seven minutes.  

Today I watched fascinated on the TV of a bar in San Pedro de Alcántara, where I was having breakfast, as the nervous runners waited for sound of the rocket.  An army of TV reporters and experts were lined up to interview punters, to comment on the festival and to build the atmosphere.

Thinking back to the death by goring of a runner last year, I hoped this year’s Sanfermines would be a happier affair. Today, as far as I could tell, no-one was gored although a good number fell and were trampled underfoot.  Later I learned that there had been one “injury” – someone suffered a slight trauma.

In the evening corrida, all three toreros, Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza, Fermín Bohórquez and Sergio Galán, were awarded ears, a symbolic award in recognition of their bravery and skill.

“uno de enero, dos de febrero,
Tres de marzo, cuatro de abril,
Cinco de mayo, seis de junio,
Siete de julio, San Fermin.
A Pamplona hemos de ir,
con una media, con una media.
A Pamplona hemos de ir,
Con una media y un calcetín.”

© Paul Whitelock

 For further articles on this topic, click Bullfighting - To Ban or Not to Ban? and Bull or No Bull?




Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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