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D.I.Y. Running of the Bulls in San Fermín

by Melissa García Lamarca

The running of the D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) bulls in Bar España's San Fermín celebration in Palma.

The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Thoughts of Spain often include images of flamenco, siestas, fiestas, and bullfights. One example that has gained international fame is the Running of the Bulls, part of the San Fermín fiestas that attract over a million people to Pamplona during the second week of July each year. Locals and adrenaline-seekers from around the world come to run half a mile through cobblestone streets, chased by a dozen bulls. This takes place every morning at 8 a.m. during a nonstop week of partying in celebration of Pamplona’s patron saint. Although it may seem like fun and games, almost every year there are severe injuries.

The effigy of San Fermín at Bar España's celebration in Palma.

On a nearby island in the Mediterranean, Bar España in Palma de Mallorca has organized their own San Fermín celebration with a humorous — and much safer — twist. The start mimics Pamplona's events: the chupinazo, a small rocket that marks the start of San Fermín, is lit, and a marching band sets off behind an effigy of San Fermín. Hundreds dressed in white T-shirts and red bandannas cram into the narrow cobblestone streets around the bar and cheer.

The "bullfighter" dancing with a D.I.Y. bull.

The "bullfighter" dancing with someone at the fiesta.

As the marching band plays and the crowd sings and dances, the D.I.Y. bulls rush through the narrow streets, the first rounds spitting firecrackers. People dive aside as they hear the bells and shouts approach. This ingenious, and animal-friendly, invention is hugely fun and easy to make with found materials. The D.I.Y. bulls are taken on by a "bullfighter" wearing a tight velvety suit, big black-rimmed glasses and fake teeth. He dances with some of the bulls and spectators to the music of the marching band. The scene creates a San Fermín like you have never seen before.

D.I.Y. bulls resting after a hard day's work.

Credits: Image of San Fermín's running of the bulls from dailycomedy.com. All other images from Diego Borbalan and Melissa García Lamarca.

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