Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Encierros for San Fermines in Pamplona Spain, and a Crow that Parties and Forget about the City’s Patron

Since I can remember, every July 7th I would sit in front of the TV set with my family to watch the encierros for San Fermines.

This year, on July 7th I watched the bulls run once again, but this time I was there in person; only a wooden fence separated me from the beasts at Estafeta Street, Pamplona, Spain.

Previous years, I would ask myself what went through people’s minds that motivated them to run in front of those enormous animals.... And although I was not brave enough to run with the bulls this time around, I watched them from a close distance, which enabled me to understand the fan’s fervor and fanatism for this event.

On TV, the run seems insanely dangerous. Yet, after experienced runners explain to you the event’s rules, you realize it is not as dangerous as it appears to be. The runners enter the encierro at 7:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the run actually starts. This gives you plenty of time to go trhough the 800 meters from the start to the Plaza de Toros before the bulls are even released.

Those who run every year assure that the encierro is not dangerous since the bulls don’t attack people on purpose; they emphasize that most incidents occur when the runners break one of the rules, despite the fact the loudspeakers repeat them over and over again throughout the event. The most common accident occurs when one of runners try to caress the bull as they run; this act distracts the beast, which usually turns around and starts running in the opposite direction. Accidents also occur when people try to film or take pictures as they run,; run while intoxicated, or run with inappropriate footwear.

Even though Pamplonenses try to convince millions that the event is safe, many people choose to remain as mere spectators, and they get on top of anything imaginable in other to get a glance of this delirious and accelerating event.

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