The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona Spain is a practice that involves running in front of a small group (typically a dozen) of bulls that have been let loose, on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town's streets. The most famous running of the bulls is that of the seven-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of San Fermín in Pamplona, although they are held in towns and villages across Spain, Portugal, and in some cities in Mexico,Mesquite, Nevada, and southern France, during the summer. Unlike bullfights, which are performed by professionals, anyone older than 18 may participate in an encierro.
The purpose of this event was in origin to transport the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night, to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado.
Spanish lore says the true origin began in North-eastern Spain during the early 14th century. While transporting cattle in order to sell at the market, men would attempt 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. When the popularity of this practice increased and was noticed more and more by the expanding population of Spanish cities, a tradition was created and stands to this day.
Before the running of the bulls, a set of wooden or iron barricades is erected to direct the bulls along the route and to block off side streets. There may be a double row of barricades along the route to allow runners to quickly exit in case of danger. The gaps in the barricades are wide enough for a person to slip through, but narrow enough to block a bull.