Tradition – Pamplona, Spain

Tradition: Running of the Bulls

Pablo’s Description:

“Well to me, the running of the bulls is very important because it happens in my hometown. It’s something that I’ve been growing up with and it is very interesting to see how it has developed since I was three or four years old. It’s become a tourist attraction now as we have over twenty thousand Americans that come over to party because it has become more of a party thing. It is a party scene but is also traditional as there is folklore behind it. The actual running of the bulls comes from when my city was founded by the Romans. They constructed the city on the basis of a hill with streets leading up into the central area. That way, for generations to come they had the cathedral and important buildings in the center of the city. The bull arena is right there next to everything else. Back in the 19th century, whenever we would have a bull fight, they would have to carry the bulls from the river all the way up the hill to the arena. The shepherds would bring the bulls, because bulls are not aggressive as we think they are; they don’t just go attack people until they feel threatened. But, people started running in front of them and it became a more fun and growing tradition. Then, the city decided it was too big to do spontaneously so they actually determined a road that the run will follow, which became more popular. Hemingway came over from America and increased its popularity to Americans, which is why it has become a large party for everyone. It’s a traditional event for me to remember our history but it has become a drinking event for most.”

When I asked Pablo about the running of the bulls, he described to me the history and the folklore behind it. He explained how it originated and the tradition it has built ever since. According to him, the events take place from the sixth of July until the fourteenth. Since he was little, he always went to the festivals and took part in all of the activities. He takes part in the running now as he is older and says that he plans to continue to do it each year. When I asked Pablo to describe the festival, he told me that it was basically a twenty four hour party with tourists drinking all throughout the night. He said there is traditional folk music that is played along with many folk dances to entertain everyone. There are lights and people everywhere as everyone takes place in this festival.

To Pablo, the running of the bulls is really special to him because it symbolizes a lot of history and the memories he has of his city. He said that he gets really sad whenever he can not attend the running and hopes that he is able to go this year. It represents a lot of Spanish culture as the festivals as well as the running of the bulls show the various traditions of Spain. This event has grown so much that over two million people annually attend the running of the bulls.

I agree with Pablo in the sense that the running of the bulls represents Spanish culture. It shows how their folklore helped construct the foundation of a city as well as a country. The event brings the country as well as others together to take part in the running. Although I believe there is great tradition involved with the event, I think it has become more of a party scene where thousands of people are socializing during the week. However, the folklore is important to the people who live in the community like Pablo and it shows with all the great memories they have from it.