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Article updated: 7/6/2013 10:56 AM

San Fermin bull-running festival starts

Revelers enjoy themselves in Ayuntamiento square, in Pamplona, northern Spain on Saturday, July 6, celebrating the start of Spain’s most famous bull-running festival with the annual launch of the “chupinazo” rocket. Perhaps best glorified by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises,” the San Fermin festival is known around the world for the daily running of the bulls.

Revelers enjoy themselves in Ayuntamiento square, in Pamplona, northern Spain on Saturday, July 6, celebrating the start of Spain's most famous bull-running festival with the annual launch of the "chupinazo" rocket. Perhaps best glorified by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises," the San Fermin festival is known around the world for the daily running of the bulls.

 

Associated Press/Alvaro Barrientos

Revelers sing as a band plays after the launch of the ‘Chupinazo’ rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2013 San Fermin fiestas, Saturday, July 6 in Pamplona, Spain. Revelers from around the world kick off the San Fermin festival with a messy party in the Pamplona town square, one day before the first of eight days of the running of the bulls glorified by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel ‘The Sun Also Rises.’

Revelers sing as a band plays after the launch of the 'Chupinazo' rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2013 San Fermin fiestas, Saturday, July 6 in Pamplona, Spain. Revelers from around the world kick off the San Fermin festival with a messy party in the Pamplona town square, one day before the first of eight days of the running of the bulls glorified by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel 'The Sun Also Rises.'

 

Associated Press/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

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PAMPLONA, Spain -- The start of the annual San Fermin bull-running festival has been delayed briefly after suspected Basque nationalists obstructed the view in a historic city plaza before dignitaries could set off a firework marking the beginning of reveries.

The nine-day fiesta featuring a heady mix of alcohol, bulls and adrenaline began some 20 minutes later than planned on Saturday after organizers removed an oversize Basque flag that blocked the balcony from where the rocket, known as Chupinazo, was to be ignited.

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Thousands of revelers, dressed in white, packed the square chanting "Viva San Fermin" and waited 19 minutes as the flag was removed.

Immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises," the ancient festival is famous for daily bull runs and all-night partying.

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