Playing with Fire
No one has to fear the Toro de Fuego, but many kids, and some adults, do.
The first Fire Bull was mentioned in the Bull Chronicles of the 17th century – when a real bull carried fireworks on its back. Given the obvious risks involved in that scenario, today, we get a much tamer scenario: the Hombre de Fuego (fire dude) dons a pretty cool bull costume with a fair amount of gunpowder strapped to his back. Interestingly enough, the purpose of this tamer version is to give children a chance to have a bull run of their own.
Same as in the morning bull run, a rocket announces that the bull is on the street, but in this case, it comes from Plaza de Santiago, just behind the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall). At ten o’clock in the evening, the fake bull of metal, wood and paper mâche, runs around the Casco Viejo (old city center), carrying rockets and fireworks on his back, terrorizing the neighborhood for about thirty minutes.
If you are near Plaza de Santiago or Estafeta street that time of night, you will see hundreds of kids, along with their parents, running in front of the bull, having fun sometimes escaping and sometimes chasing the sparks and noise of the firecrackers.
This spectacle full of the color, sound, and smells of gunpowder. In theory, it is not dangerous at all – but in practice, we recommend you keep a respectful distance from the bull, and bring a jacket to cover your arms from the spray of the fireworks.
You certainly won’t regret adding this event to your itinerary. The streets of Pamplona are full of light and laughter, not to mention the fact that your pictures will be awesome.