Running of the Bulls: Cultural Tradition?

July 8, 2017

Imagine walking down a cobblestone street when all of a sudden you hear a rumbling behind you. You turn and see people dressed in white with a red bandana tied around their necks running quickly towards you. As they start to run past you, you see it: a herd of bulls stampeding their way down the street. Eeks! You start to panic, but then you remember that you’re visiting Pamplona, Spain, and it’s the annual Running of the Bulls Festival.

By Asier Solana Bermejo (Los toros piden paso) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
To some, the annual encierro, or Running of the Bulls, is a religious tradition to honor St. Fermin, the patron saint of the region of Navarre where the city of Pamplona is located. But more recently, the Running of the Bulls has become a week-long party where people from around the world visit to drink, eat, and be merry. For this reason, animal rights activists have protested the festival, saying that it is less of a tradition and more of a festival that puts both animals and people in danger.

Despite the protests, the festival continues to take place each year during the second week of July, drawing hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to be chased down by a herd of bulls through the narrow cobblestone streets of Pamplona.

Would you let a bunch of sharp-horned bulls chase you down the street?