Tuesday 20 August 2019

Nine days of uninterrupted partying kick off at Pamplona's famed running of the bulls

Paula Lopez, 24, and Diego Roldan, 24, kiss during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Paula Lopez, 24, and Diego Roldan, 24, kiss during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
A reveller celebrates during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
A reveller celebrates during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers rise hands during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
A reveller cools off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Revellers are splashed with water during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
A band plays outside the city hall during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
A municipal brass band makes it's away through a crowd of revellers during the launch of the 'Chupinazo' rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2019 San Fermin fiestas in Pamplona, Spain, Saturday July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
A band plays during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Revellers celebrate while waiting for the launch of the 'Chupinazo' rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2019 San Fermin fiestas with daily bull runs, bullfights, music and dancing in Pamplona, Spain, Saturday July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
Revellers hold their arms up during the launch of the 'Chupinazo' rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2019 San Fermin fiestas in Pamplona, Spain, Saturday July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
Paula Lopez, 24, and Diego Roldan, 24, kiss during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Revellers celebrate during the opening of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Alvaro Barrientos and Aritz Parra

The blast of a firework has opened nine days of uninterrupted partying in Pamplona's famed running of the bulls festival.

A member of the northern Spanish city's official brass band was chosen for this year's launch of the rocket, known as the "Chupinazo", to mark 100 years since the local ensemble's foundation.

Jesus Garisoain addressed an ecstatic crowd from the city hall's balcony, declaring "Long live San Fermin" - the saint honoured by the festival.

The blast was met by an eruption of joy from revellers, who sprayed each other with wine, staining in pink the traditional attire of white clothes and a red scarf.

Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Early 20th-century American author Ernest Hemingway immortalised the fiesta in his The Sun Also Rises novel.

During the festival, Pamplona's population swells from nearly 200,000 residents to around a million, with visitors attracted by the adrenaline rush of bull runs along an 850-metre street course to the city's bullring and seamless nights of partying.

A reveller celebrates during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
A reveller celebrates during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Protests by pro-animal rights groups have also become a fixture in recent years.

On the eve of the festival, dozens of semi-naked activists staged a performance simulating speared bulls lying dead on Pamplona's cobbled streets to draw attention to what they see as animal cruelty for the sake of human entertainment.

Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Bullfights are protected under the Spanish Constitution as part of the country's cultural heritage.

The festival's bull runs start on Sunday.

Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Revellers cool off with water thrown from a balcony during the opening of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera

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