Free Spanish teaching resource – bull running in Pamplona

Controversy surrounds this dangerous festival but many holiday companies offer a package to visit the area and witness the encierro, the running of the bulls. The implementation (or not) of health and safety in other cultures is an interesting topic to explore.

From the 6th July to the 14th there is a week long festival in honour of San Fermín, the patron saint of Pamplona. Pamplona is in Navarra in the Spanish Pyrenees. This is a time for carnival with processions, singing, dancing and delicious food and drink. A special feature of this fiesta are gigantes or giants. The giants are hollow, and carried on the shoulders of people inside. The upper half depicts a famous person, and the bottom half is a skirt to disguise the carrier. The giants often parade in pairs.

What makes this carnival stand out is the famous attraction of the encierro, or the daily ‘bull-run’. Each morning bulls are released to run about 800 metres through the streets to the bullring. This only takes three minutes but, during this time, men try to run with the bulls through the narrow streets. This can be very dangerous, but there are some strict rules in place! Runners must be 18 or over and must be in suitable attire. It is tradition to dress in white shirt, white trousers with a red beret, red sash and red scarf.

Why not try the following activities (pupils may need to do more research on the internet or in books);

◆ Design a giant for the Fiesta. Find some pictures of the gigantes to use as examples.
◆ Write a newspaper report of the bull run.
◆ Draw and label a traditional bull runner.
◆ Make a list of people who gigantes may be based on in the UK.
◆ Make a poster of the bull-running rules.

The information and activity ideas are drawn from Spanish Festivals and Traditions KS2. We also produce a KS3 version.

The books are an invaluable and time-saving resource for teachers, providing intercultural ideas for every month of the year. For each festival and tradition, you will find:
Analysis grids that show where and how the Intercultural Strand of the Framework for Modern Languages is covered, both by objective and year group for KS2.Analysis grids that show where and how the activities link to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study in the KS3 version.
Finally, this book provides detailed plans for holding your own ‘Spanish Day’ at school to raise the profile of MFL and enthuse both staff and children.
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