Running with Bulls is never a good idea unless it takes place in Pamplona, Spain, and the date is between the 7th and 14th of July. Well, it is probably still not a good idea to run in front of a group of bulls, but the San Fermin Festival is a special celebration that allows people from around the world to participate in a unique experience.

This Thursday, the celebrations commenced after the ignition of the firework rocket, also known as the "chupinazo," from the balcony of the city hall. This loud noise was accompanied by "Viva San Fermin" (Long live San Fermin), the customary shout by the representatives on the balcony at noon.

Pamplona brings people together

"It's the best, there are no words to explain this," said an ecstatic Paula Remirez to public television TVE. Paula was one of two volunteers from a local charity called DYA Navarra who were selected this year to spark the chupinazo and officially start San Fermin.

The San Fermin celebrations have become a major tourist attraction that draws people from around the world every year. Once the visitors put on the traditional white outfits and red scarves around their necks, they automatically blend with everyone else. Once their white shirts turn pink as a result of the wine and sangria that floats around the Pamplona square, they can then say that they indeed had fun at the festival.

Renowned American author Ernest Hemingway visited Pamplona for the San Fermin Festival on several occasions, and his 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" touches on the festival.

Running with the bulls

San Fermin's biggest event arrives early every morning. At 8:00 am, six fighting bulls are released into a number of narrow, sectioned-off streets in Pamplona, and hundreds of courageous people race with the bulls for more than half a mile.

The greatest test of courage is the ability to run as close as possible to the bulls' horns. The bulls are ultimately led into bullfighting rings where they are killed. The bravest bulls are occasionally spared their lives by the audience. The most celebrated bull run is the first one, and that will take place on Friday.

Deaths are the other side of the story of the running of the bulls.

Fifteen people have lost their lives since 1911. While the festival dates back to medieval times, most incidents began to be recorded in 1911.

Sexual assault in San Fermin

More than ever, Pamplona officials have focused on combating sexual assaults during the San Fermin frenzy after an 18-year-old woman allegedly got raped by five men last year. Many walls in Pamplona are covered with signs baring slogans that read "Pamplona free of sexual aggressions."