However, here are eight interesting facts about the origin and evolution of the Runing of the Bulls.
1. Origin of the race
The origin of the race lies in the practice of transporting the bulls to sell them or to get them to the bullrings. Men would try to speed up the process by running in front of the bulls to provoke them. Youngsters soon started jumping in front of the bulls and turned it into a competition.
2. The tradition is more than 423 years old!
Though there is evidence that the running started much earlier in the 13th century, records state that the race became an annual occurrence in 1592. It was popularized in Ernest Hemmingway’s book ‘The Sun Also Rises’ in 1926, which spread its popularity.
3. The Myth of the Color Red
It is a common mistake to believe that Spanish matadors and mozos dawn the color red in order to anger the bulls. In fact, according to The Discovery Channel, the color is not what drives bulls to attack because “bulls don’t seem to have any color preference at all.”
Bulls instinctively follow movement, so they will charge whichever object is moving quickest. Therefore, the bulls chase the runners because of their speed, not the color of their uniforms.
4. Bulls aren’t the only animals that run in the race
Along with the bulls, a few oxen (castrated bulls) are also released. These oxen serve the purpose of guiding the bulls to run in the correct direction towards the bullring.
5. Most runners are foreigners
It is estimated that 56% of the runners are foreigners.
6. Popularized By American Pop Culture
Ernest Hemingway popularized Pamploma’s Running of the Bulls festival when he published his famous novel The Sun Also Rises in 1926.
Hemingway’s novel takes place against the backdrop of the wild Spanish fiesta and bull run, and the author relies on the ceremony to symbolize larger themes in his work such as the lost generation and the quest to reclaim masculinity in the post-war world.
This classic American novel helped transform the Running of the Bulls into an international spectacle.
7. The bulls are killed inhumanely at the end
The bulls run directly into the bullring at the end of the race. Here, the matador slaughters them to their death.
The death is not quick. It is slow and painful. The matador stabs the bulls several times on the neck and shoulders to weaken them before he gives his final blow.
8. It is a very short race
The most famous bull running that takes place during the San Fermin celebrations in Pamplona in Spain every year kicks off at 8 o’clock in the morning and barely lasts for a few minutes. The actual run lasts around 15-20 seconds. The Pamplona race has been covered live now for over 30 years by the Spanish Radio and Television Corporation.