A running of the bulls is an event that involves running in front of a small group of cattle, typically six but sometimes ten or more, that have been let loose on a course of a town’s streets, usually as part of a summertime festival.
The origin of this event comes from the need to transport the bulls from the fields outside the city, to the bullring. During this “run”, youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado.
Spanish tradition holds that bull-running began in north-eastern Spain in the early 14th century. While transporting cattle in order to sell them at the market, men would try to speed the process by hurrying their cattle using tactics of fear and excitement.
After years of this practice, the transportation and hurrying began to turn into a competition, as young adults would attempt to race in front of the bulls and make it safely to their pens without being overtaken.
The most famous bull-run – “The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona” is held during the nine-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of Saint Fermin. More traditional summer bull-runs are held in other places such as towns and villages across Spain and Portugal, in some cities in Mexico. Bull-running was formerly also practised in rural England, most famously at Stamford until 1837.