This year’s controversial San Fermín festival, known as the running of the bulls to most foreigners, kicked off on Friday in Pamplona with the traditional chupinazo (scroll down for pictures).
The inauguration ceremony sees thousands of people bundle up in the city’s central square, awaiting the moment Pamplona’s mayor lets off a start rocket (chupinazo) from the top of the town hall to declare the fiestas officially open.
It’s a bizarre spectacle: a sea of people is soaked from head to toe in wine thrown from the balconies up above, turning their traditional white San Fermin clothing into a mixture of pink and red.
The square is so tightly packed with partygoers you can lift your feet off the ground and be carried around in the air by the people you’re rubbing shoulders with.
Exhilarating for some, stifling for others.
Tens of thousands of people from home and from afar will now take over Pamplona’s streets and squares for nine days of drinking, dancing and singing, and some of the more daring will attempt to outrun a herd of bulls in the nerve-racking encierros.
But this year’s San Fermín festival has been overshadowed by the Spanish public’s anger at the so-called “wolf pack” case, after it emerged that a woman at the 2016 edition of the festival was gang raped by a group of five men.
Protests by women’s rights groups are expected to take place throughout this week.
Here are the craziest pictures from 2018's chupinazo
Time for a game of medieval football. Photo: AFP
Don't pack your best white clothes if you're heading to San Fermín because they will get ruined. Photo: AFP
Local youths hold up Basque flags and banners calling for political prisoners to be freed or moved closer to home. Photo: AFP
Showered in red wine. Photo: AFP
A group of girls give their guy friend the rockstar treatment. Photo: AFP
Who said a 'dad bod' couldn't get all the looks? Photo: AFP
A kiss to kick off San Fermines. Photo: AFP
A group of young women get drenched in wine. Photo: AFP