PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) – A traditional firework known as the “Chupinazo” kicked off Pamplona’s famed San Fermin running of the bulls festival on Friday.
Two members of a local music band, both with Down syndrome, launched the rocket from the northern Spanish city’s town hall balcony at noon, prompting cries of joy from thousands packed in the square below.
Amid shouts in Basque and Spanish of “Long life to San Fermin,” the saint honoured by the festival, people in the crowd wore the festival’s typical red scarf and sprayed each other with wine, staining the traditional white attire.
The nine-day fiesta was immortalized by American novelist Ernest Hemingway and draws around one million visitors.
For eight consecutive mornings starting Saturday, daredevils race with bulls along an 850-meter (930-yard) street course to the city’s bullring.