Running of the bulls festival starts in Spain

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Running of the bulls festival starts in Spain
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 07: Revellers attempt to avoid a fighting calf inside Pamplona bullring during the second day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival on July 7, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 07: Revellers attempt to avoid a fighting calf inside Pamplona bullring during the second day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival on July 7, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 07: A reveller falls while running with Jandilla's fighting bulls along the Calle Estafeta during the second day of the San Fermin Running Of The Bulls festival on July 7, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 07: Revellers attempt to avoid a fighting calf inside Pamplona bullring during the second day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival on July 7, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 07: Revellers run with Jandilla's fighting bulls along the Calle Estafeta during the second day of the San Fermin Running Of The Bulls festival on July 7, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
Participants gather as Jandilla bulls run past during the fist 'encierro' (bull-run) of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 7, 2015. The festival is a symbol of Spanish culture that attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs despite heavy condemnation from animal rights groups. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Jandilla bull charges a participant during the first 'encierro' (bull-run) of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 7, 2015. The festival is a symbol of Spanish culture that attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs despite heavy condemnation from animal rights groups. AFP PHOTO/ ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 06: Revellers and children are 'chased' by the 'Toro de Fuego' (Flaming bull) as it runs throught the streets during the opening day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls fiesta on July 6, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 06: People and children take cover as the 'Toro de Fuego' (flaming bull) runs throught the streets during the opening day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls fiesta on July 6, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 06: Revellers enjoy the atmosphere during the opening day or 'Chupinazo' of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls fiesta on July 6, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 06: Revellers hold up their red handkerchiefs during the opening day or 'Chupinazo' of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls fiesta on July 6, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
A woman is tossed during the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) celebration to mark the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSO (Photo credit should read CESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images)
A music band performs during the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) celebration that marks the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A man is tossed during the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) celebration that marks the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A music band performs during the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) celebration that marks the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
Musicians gather to perform at the Pamplona city-hall square during the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) celebration that marks the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSO (Photo credit should read CESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers celebrate the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) to mark the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSO (Photo credit should read CESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 06: Revellers enjoy the atmosphere during the opening day or 'Chupinazo' of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls fiesta on July 6, 2015 in Pamplona, Spain. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemmingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Revellers gather at Pamplona's city-hall square to celebrate the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) marking the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)
People on balconies witness the 'Chupinazo' (start rocket) celebration that marks the kickoff at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival, in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 6, 2015. A red-and-white sea of revelers soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square today to start off Spain's most famous fiesta, the San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
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PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — Thousands of revelers doused each other with wine Monday to celebrate the start of the famed San Fermin running of the bulls festival in this northern Spanish city.

The festival started with the traditional launching of a fireworks rocket — known as the "Chupinazo"— from the town hall balcony. The heaving crowd packed the square down below, jumping and screaming "Viva San Fermin!"

Most in the crowd waved red neckerchiefs, which along with white shirts and trousers form the traditional festival clothing.

The Chupinazo takes place a day before the first of eight 8 a.m. bull runs. Thousands of people at the festival test their speed and bravery by racing ahead of six fighting bulls along a 930-yard (850-meter) course from a holding pen to the city's bull ring. The bulls are then killed by professional matadors in bullfights each afternoon.

The nine-day, street-partying fiesta was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" and attracts thousands of foreign tourists.

Bull runs, or "encierros," as they are called in Spanish, are a traditional part of summer festivals across Spain. Dozens are injured each year in the runs, most of them in falls.

Two men have died being gored by bulls in Spanish festivals in recent weeks — one Saturday in the eastern town of Grao de Castellon and another June 24 in the southwestern town of Coria.

Five Spaniards, two Australians and one American were gored in last year's festival in Pamplona. In all, 15 people have died from gorings in San Fermin since record-keeping began in 1924.

Raw: Running With the Bulls in Spain

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