Running of The Bulls in Spain

Want to learn more about Running of the Bulls in Spain? Read on for facts and info on the controversial tradition of Spanish bull running…

The Running of the Bulls is a controversial festival conducted in Spain each year. During the festivals a group of 10 full sized bulls are made to run through a cordoned off section of the streets of Spain accompanied by men and women running along them. This festival leads to many injuries and deaths and yet it is celebrated year after year.

Spain is not the only country in the world that conducts this festival. Rather it is celebrated in Portugal, France and Mexico as well.  The most popular running of the bulls festivals is the San Fermin region held over a period of nine days in Pamplona. One of the most distinctive features of these festivals is that the individuals that participate in the bull running are actually the common folk and not professional bullfighters.

Before the event the bulls are kept in an off-site corral from which they have to be transported to the bullfighting arena. Eventually they are killed during the bullfighting  competition in the evening. Many young individuals get injured during the running of the bulls as they attempt to show off by jumping in the line of the beasts during the stampede.

According to historical records it is believed that this Spanish tradition began in Northeastern Spain back in the 14th century. At that point in time the purpose was to transport the cattle from one end of the town to the market where they would be sold. The men accompanying the bulls would make attempts to hurry the cattle by triggering fear and excitement along the way. Over the course of years this process of speeding up the cattle on the way to the market became a competition especially because of the acts of young individuals who would jump in front of the bulls during the run. They would attempt to enter the pen undamaged before the bulls. As this practice became popular it spread throughout other Spanish cities and the formal tradition came into existence that is still maintained up to today.

The nature of this competition is such that injuries are bound to occur. Many people get gored and trampled along the way as the hooves of the bulls do not provide them with adequate grip on the cobbled and paved surfaces of the street. In order to direct the bulls along the way to the bullfighting arena the sides of the streets are lined with iron barricades. The main purpose is to block any off-site streets that may lead the bulls into another direction. There are only small gaps in these barricades that allow people to slide through in order to join the run or escape from it.

The most dangerous incident occurs when one or more of the bulls are separated from the herd. This is because it becomes disoriented and starts to attack anyone and everyone that attracts its attention. The event of the running of the bulls has been a subject of severe criticism over the course of years. Yet the Spanish continue to participate in this cultural event up to today.


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