In pictures: Pamplona’s famous bull-run festival back after two-year hiatus

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In Pictures: Pamplona’s Famous Bull-Run Festival Back After Two-Year Hiatus In Pictures: Pamplona’s Famous Bull-Run Festival Back After Two-Year Hiatus
Revellers celebrate while waiting for the launch of the 'chupinazo’ rocket, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Irene Yague and Ciaran Giles, Associated Press

Thousands of revellers erupted in celebration as the traditional ‘chupinazo’ firework was ignited to start the San Fermín bull-run festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona, ending a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.


A reveller squirts wine from a wineskin while waiting for the launch of the ‘chupinazo’ rocket to mark the official opening of the 2022 San Fermin fiestas in Pamplona, Spain, Wednesday, July 6, 2022 (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Rain did nothing to dampen the atmosphere as crowds, nearly all dressed in the traditional garb of white trousers and shirt with red sash and neckerchief, crammed the tiny town hall square for the noon event.

After the firework exploded, the revellers continued spraying each other with red wine.


Revellers fill the town hall square waiting for the launch of the ‘chupinazo’ rocket (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

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The blast of a traditional firework opens nine days of uninterrupted partying in Pamplona’s famed running-of-the-bulls festival (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

The highlight of the nine-day festival are the early morning ‘encierros’, or bull runs, starting on Thursday, when thousands of thrill seekers scramble like mad to avoid six bulls as they charge along a winding, cobblestoned route to the city’s bullring.


The festival was suspended for the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Spectators watch from balconies and the wooden barricades set up to line the course. The rest of each day is for eating, drinking, dancing and cultural entertainment.

The bulls used in the runs are killed by professional matadors in bullfights each afternoon in the city ring.


People dressed as dinosaurs and in white and red San Fermin’s colours, protest against animal cruelty before the start of the festival (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

The festival was made world famous by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises. Before the pandemic made it impossible to hold in 2020 and 2021, it had not been suspended since the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.


A band plays among revellers (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Pamplona’s population of some 200,000 balloons to nearly a million on peak days during the festival, especially over the weekend, including many foreigners. Many visitors do not stop partying through the night or grab some sleep wherever they can outside.


Police officers try to control the crowd (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)


Revellers raise their arms in the town hall square (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

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