Many thousands of revellers from around the world soaked each other with wine in a packed Pamplona square, kicking off Spain's most famous bull-running fiesta.
Pamplona’s famous Fiesta de San Fermin, which involves the running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona for eight days starting July 7th, was made famous by the 1926 novel of U.S. writercalled ‘The Sun Also Rises.’
On the first day of festival Red Cross reported, a 26-year-old Australian was one of six people were taken to hospital on the opening day. A 73-year-old man from Pamplona was gored in his right leg, the Australian bruised his right knee and a 21-year-old Japanese man hurt his back. Three others suffered cuts and bruises.
Runners, in white clothing and red kerchiefs around their necks, tripped over each other or fell in the annual mad daredevil rush along early morning dew-moistened streets to the bull ring.
The bulls, weighing between 520 and 590 kilos, stampeded through an 850-metre course from a holding pen to the city's bull ring in just two minutes, 53 seconds in a run watched by millions on television.
Some dared to run just at arm's length from the six huge fighting bulls and six steers, glancing nervously behind at the beasts' dangerous curved horns.
Others chased behind the pack, occasionally touching the bulls' sides, or cowered on the sidelines as the animals raced by.
The bull runs are believed to have started when butchers began running ahead of the beasts they were bringing from the countryside to the San Fermin festival.
Dozens of participants are injured each year. Most of the injuries are not caused by bull horns but by runners falling, getting knocked over or trampled by the animals.
Every year between 200 and 300 participants in bull runs are injured, around three per cent seriously.
Most are hurt after falling, but some are trampled or gored by the bulls despite increased safety measures.
The last death occurred three years ago when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard to death, piercing his neck, heart and lungs with its horns in front of hordes of tourists.
The city of 200,000 residents expects the festival will draw half a million visitors and bring in more than 70 million euros ($88 million) in tourism earnings.
As well as tourists, Pamplona also attracts demonstrators from animal the welfare group Peta. The day before the festival opens around 100 protesters paint their naked bodies black and red and lie on the ground forming the shape of a bull with bloodied haunches.