MADRID — A flaming-horned bull trampled and fatally gored a man early Saturday during a festival in eastern Spain, an official said.
Large balls of flaming wax are traditionally affixed to the beasts' heads before they are let loose to rampage through squares and narrow streets in such festivals.
The mayor of Navajas, population 730, said emergency services in his town were unable to save the life of the 45-year-old man whose name was withheld. Jose Vicente Torres said the accident happened when the man, who had traveled from Alboraia, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the south, tripped just as the bull was released.
Torres said the bull charged the man, gored him and then stamped on his head, causing him "irreversible injuries." He said he had offered his condolences to the man's family, but would not cancel similar events scheduled for early Sunday.
"Although ours is a small town, many people from outside come to visit our feast dedicated to Saint Anton," Torres said, adding that black bows had been tied to town hall flags as a mark of respect and mourning.
Many towns in east and northeastern Spain celebrate feasts with "toros embolados," or "flaming bulls," which feature the animals racing around and shaking their heads as a reaction to flames or fireworks attached to or close to their horns. At these regional festivals, flaming-horned bulls are taunted and teased by rowdy crowds in bullrings, town squares or down streets. Unlike with most other events involving bulls, the animals aren't killed in the end.
The regional parliament of northeastern Catalonia banned bullfighting in July 2010 following a signature-collection campaign by animal rights activists. The ban took effect Jan. 1. But the region then passed other legislation protecting flaming bulls, called "correbous" in the Catalan language. Many critics said banning one act while enshrining the other in law was hypocrisy.