Spain revels in bull-run fiesta

Spain revels in bull-run fiesta

Spain revels in bull-run fiesta

party time: People take part in the ‘Chupinazo’ to mark the start of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on Tuesday. AFP

The nine-day festival got under way at midday with the traditional shout from the city hall balcony of “Viva San Fermin!” followed seconds later by the firing of the firecracker known as the chupinazo.

The rocket blast was the signal to the revellers — many in the festival’s traditional dress of white shirts and trousers and red neckerchiefs — to erupt into party mode. People sang and whooped while many drenched each other with all sorts of drink and threw eggs and flour.

Television shots from the air showed a veritable sea of red and white swaying back and forth in the square as a deafening roar could be heard rising up from the crowd.

In an almost laughable bid to try to keep the noise level down during a fiesta known for its all-night street partying, Pamplona town hall on Monday banned the street sale of vuvuzelas, the droning plastic horns so popular at World Cup matches in South Africa.

San Fermin’s first bull-run is at 8 am on Wednesday when hundreds of people race ahead of six fighting bulls. Dozens of people are injured each year in the morning runs, most from falls but some also from gorings and tramplings by the beasts.