Madrid: Spain’s best-known bull running festival in the northern town of Pamplona has been cancelled. This is because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Pamplona city officials said Tuesday.
Hundreds of thousands of people typically attend the centuries-old San Fermin celebration. In the festival half-tonne fighting bulls chase hundreds of daredevils, many wearing traditional white shirts and scarves. Thousands throng to see the festival. Those who have seen the Hrithik Roshan-starrer Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara will know what the festival is all about.
Pamplona’s municipal council decided to call off the event, held each year between July 6 and 14. “The fight against COVID-19 has become a global priority. There is no other possible option for such massive festivities,” a statement from the authorities said.
People flock to the city from all over the world to test their bravery and enjoy the festival’s mix of round-the-clock parties. There are also religious processions and concerts.
Sixteen people have been killed in the bull runs since officials began keeping track in 1910. The last death was in 2009 when a 27-year-old Spaniard was gored in the neck, heart and lungs.
The San Fermin festival dates back to medieval times. It was immortalised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.
COVID-19 has killed almost 21,300 people so far in Spain, the third-highest official toll after the United States and Italy.
The pandemic has also forced the suspension or postponement of many major events worldwide. Among them are the Tokyo Olympics, the Coachella music festival in southern California and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.