Each encierro begins at the Calle Santo Domingo corral. During each run, six Spanish fighting bulls, called “Jandillas,” and six steers are released from the corral. A series of rockets alert the runners of the bull’s position, and then the race is on! Wearing white clothing and red bandanas around their necks, runners sprint through the streets of the Spanish city with the dangerous bulls at their heels.
Check out these pictures from the first few days of the 2015 San Fermin festival.
“Chupinazo,” the opening ceremony of the San Fermin festival, draws millions of visitors each year.
And while Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 classic, The Sun Also Rises, greatly popularized the tradition–at least in the United States–encierro is steeped in centuries of history. Some have traced the event as far back as the 13th century, with people joining the run some time during the 19th century.
The festival lasts from July 6-14 and includes a number of events and traditions meant to honor San Fermin, the patron saint of Navarra, but it is the running of the bulls that draws the largest crowds. As expected, not all runners make it out of the track in one piece. In 2015 alone, at least three people have been gored by the Jandillas, and many more have been treated for bruises and scrapes.