The Running of the Bulls is a practice that involves teasing or tormenting bulls to enrage them, then running in front of bulls that have been let loose on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town's streets.
The most famous running of the bulls is that of the nine-day festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, although they are held in towns and villages across Spain during the fiesta season, usually in the run-up to the corrida, or bull-fight, and in some cities in southern France, most notably Bayonne. Unlike bull fights, which are performed by professionals, anyone may participate in an encierro. Injuries are common, both to the participants who may be gored or trampled, and to the bulls, whose hooves grip poorly on the paved or cobbled street surfaces.
The origin of this custom is the transport of the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado.
Prior to the running of the bulls, a set of wooden barricades are erected to direct the bulls along the route and to block off side streets. There is a double row of barricades at five locations along the route to allow runners to quickly exit in case of danger, the exception being along Calle Estafeta where there is only one point at which a runner can seek safety. The gaps in the barricades are wide enough for a person to slip through, but narrow enough to block a bull, though one should still be wary of the bull's horns.
A first rocket is set off to alert the runners that the corral gate is open. The second rockets signals that all six bulls and six steers have been released. The fastest part of the route is up Santo Domingo and across the Town Hall Square, but the bulls often became separated at the entrance to C/Estafeta as they try to slow down. One or more would slip going into the turn at Estafeta, but with the use of the new anti-slip surfacing, most of the bulls negotiate the turn onto Estafeta and are often ahead of the steers. This has resulted in a quicker, but not safer encierro as the bulls are usually out ahead of the steers as they reach the Callejon.
* Ernest Hemingway wrote several novels and stories about this festival, including The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon
It is strictly forbidden:
1. To be under 18 years old.
2. Not to obey the human barriers created by the security forces.
3. To block any part of the run indicated by the officials.
4. To stay in the run in corners, entryways to buildings and any other gap without the intention of running.
5. To have any entry to a building open, being the owners responsible to block the entry.
6. To be under the influence of alcohol, drug or incapacitated for running.
7. To carry any object that could put in danger any runner.
8. To lack of the proper attire to run
9. To call the attention of the bulls.
10. To stop in the run, stay to long in the fences or do anything that would difficult the run of the rest of the runners.