An Analysis of the Culture of Spain and the Concept of the Running of the Bulls at the Fiesta de San Fermin

Categories: Spain Culture

Every country has their own culture, and like other cultures, Spain too has its own specific culture. Part of the Spanish culture revolves around the bull. Bullfighting and bull runs by many people are recognized as the only Spanish culture in the world, and because of its importance it always begins on time. Still many people view it as a crime. Me being a foreigner I have first hand experience with different cultures. A long time ago in India’s ritual would be to hunt and kill the Indian tiger.

Over time the Indian tiger became endangered and now they have become illegal to hunt. When I saw my great great grandfathers hunting pictures he had two tiger heads. Both rituals of bullfighting and hunting tigers are an inseparable culture for both countries. Thus, the Spanish culture revolves around the bull and will continue revolving around the bull forever.

The Running of the Bulls at the Fiesta de San Fermin is one of the major events in Spain.

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The tradition first originated when Saint Fermin went to France to preach the gospel. Because of religious intolerance the people of France beheaded him in the city of Amines (Fiesta de San Fermin). Thus gives the name to the fiesta in honor of San Fermin. The main event at the Fiesta de San Fermin is the Running of the Bulls. The running of the bulls pits the “mozos” young men versus the bull through the streets of Pamplona, Spain. The complete run lasts for an exhilarating three minutes and stretches over 825 meters in length.

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The purpose of the run is to direct the bulls from the Santo Domingo corrals to the bullfighting ring. At the bullfighting ring amateur bullfighters will fight the bulls. A total of six wild bulls run along with eight to ten tamed bulls that herd the rest along the route (San Fermines). Before each race, runners entrust their life to San Fermin by praying -“we ask San Fermin, as our patron, to guide us through the Bull Run and give us his blessing” (Qtd. in The Fiesta de San Fermin). Finally, the rules and dangers of running with the bulls are explained to the runners. 1. No one under the age of eighteen 2. Don’t leave the run 3. No hiding in corners 4. Don’t leave house doors open 5. Don’t run intoxicated 6. Don’t impede other runners (San Fermines). Through the entire fourteen days of the Fiesta there are eight bullfights and eight bull runs. With so many activities at the Fiesta de San Fermin it is one of the major cultural events in Spain.

Bullfighting is another major event and part of the Spanish culture. A bullfight “la corrida” is an extremely tens drama divided into three parts. First, a special parade honoring the fighters goes through town. Then, the bull enters the ring and the bullfighter “matador” tests the bull for intelligence with cape passes. The fighters use daggers called picadors to weaken the bull. The second act is to enrage the bull by stabbing its shoulders with darts. Finally the last act the bullfighter duels with the bull and one of them wins (Juriz and Harlington 30). When the bull dies the moment is called “la hora de la verdad- the moment of the truth” (Qtd. in Spain revised 30). The bullfighting season lasts from March to October and bullfights are performed on Sundays. A major drawback to the bullfighting fans is the price of the seats. Seats are divided into three sections. The “sombra” shade seating places the viewer in the shade. The “sol” full sun seats place the viewer in direct sunlight, and the “sonta” seats place the viewer in partial sun (Dell 38). Lastly, an opposition group has formed called the Beloved Bulls. The group condemns bullfighting and says its animal cruelty and barbaric (Beloved Bull’s website). Still, with much opposition bullfighting remains Spain’s national sport and an ongoing culture.

Over time bullfighting and bull runs has compelled many people express their ideas through mediums such as books and paintings and over the years’ heroes and legends have emerged. Outside the bullring Ventas, a statue in honor of Alexander Fleming is erected. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, and since then fewer deaths related to bullfighting has occurred (Irizarry 65). In Ernest Hemmingway’s Novel, Fiesta he describes the San Fermin bull run-“they were all running, packed close together. They passed along and up the street towards the bullring and behind them came more men running faster, and then some stragglers who were really running. Behind them was a little bare space, and then the bulls galloping, tossing their heads up and down” (Qtd. in Fiesta 76). Pueblo Picasso painted more than thirty painting pertaining to bullfighting or bull running. One of the most famous painting called the Alancendo a un Toro, portrays wild horses let loose with out blindfolds in a bullring (Dell 38). Bullfighters in Spain represent heroes because of their bravery. Some of the famous bullfighters include Belmonte, the father of bullfighting, Sanchez Mejias, longest killing streak 103, Manolete, youngest bullfighter killed at twenty-one years old, and Luis Miquel Dominguin the latest talent in bullfighting. The Spanish culture of bullfighting and bull runs has compelled many people to express their views through books or paintings and has created many new legends in Spain.

Bullfighting and bull runs are part of the Spanish culture and are inseparable form Spain’s future. The Fiesta de San Fermin, in honor of Saint Fermin, takes place in Pamplona, Spain every year from June 14-21. Six wild bulls led by eight to ten tamed bulls trudge through the street while brave runners risk their lives to lead them to the bullring. Once at the bullring the bulls will fight bullfighters. The bullfight divided into three parts becomes an intense show. The first part the bullfighter tests the bull for intelligence, in the second act the bullfighter sticks darts in the bulls shoulder to enrage the bull, and finally the bull and the bullfighter duel. Many famous people such as Pueblo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Alexander Fleming have statues for their role in the Spanish culture of bullfighting and bull runs. Like other culture I believe in my culture and believe that the Spanish culture of bullfighting and bull runs will continue to flourish.

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An Analysis of the Culture of Spain and the Concept of the Running of the Bulls at the Fiesta de San Fermin. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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