Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Spain bull-running festival begins

Revelers wearing red Basque berets, look on from a balcony in Ayuntamiento square in Pamplona, northern Spain (AP)
Revelers wearing red Basque berets, look on from a balcony in Ayuntamiento square in Pamplona, northern Spain (AP)
A reveler jumps from a fountain after the launch of the Chupinazo rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2013 San Fermin festival (AP)
Revelers hold up a girl during the launch of the Chupinazo rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2013 San Fermin festival in Spain (AP)
Revelers enjoy themselves in Ayuntamiento square, in Pamplona, northern Spain at the start of the bull-running festival (AP)

The start of the annual San Fermin bull-running festival has been delayed briefly after suspected Basque nationalists obstructed the view in a historic city plaza in Pamplona before dignitaries could set off a firework marking the beginning of reveries.

The nine-day fiesta featuring a heady mix of alcohol, bulls and adrenaline began some 20 minutes later than planned after organisers removed an oversize Basque flag that blocked the balcony from where the rocket, known as Chupinazo, was to be ignited.

Thousands of revellers, dressed in white, packed the square chanting Viva San Fermin and waited 19 minutes as the flag was removed.

Immortalised in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, the ancient festival is famous for daily bull runs and all-night partying.

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