News, August 2004

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San Fermín, Pamplona's bull-running Fiesta

7th July is the day that the inhabitants of Pamplona celebrate their patron saint, San Fermín. It is the first day of a week of bull-running and fiestas. Made famous by Hemingway's book The sun never sets, this has come to be regarded as Spain's bull-running showcase, although it is just one of many such events in the national calendar of local fiestas. On 5th July a demonstration took place by (mostly foreign) animal rights protesters running naked through the streets. Spaniards, on the whole, are so accustomed to these celebrations, that they see nothing worng with bull fighting and other use of animals in their traditional fiestas.

As usual, a major concern is the number of people likely to be injured and even killed in these stampedes, not only in Pamplona, but also in many other cities, although statistically, the annual drive to the beaches is likely to cause more deaths - 36 on the first weekend of July alone.