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Bous a la Mar - A festival where bulls chase people into the sea

Thanks to the efforts of animal rights activists, everyone\'s now familiar with the festival of San Fermin or the Running of the Bulls. The festival, held in the Spanish city of Pamplona, is a tenacious, if brutal, battle of man versus beast. However, each year an entirely different festival pitting man against bull takes place at the same time elsewhere in Spain.

600 kilometers south from Pamplona is the coastal town of Denia and every year the otherwise sleepy town hosts the \'Bous a la Mar,\' or \'Bulls in the Sea,\' festival.

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This festival has very little in common with Pamplona\'s festivities. The men fighting the bulls are not highly trained matadors or terrified adults, but mostly scrawny young boys in swim shorts.

As in Pamplona, the ceremony begins with a more sedate "running", as bulls chase the young boys down to a port-side arena designed just for the event.

The arena is square-shaped. Three sides of it have stands on top of an open area at the bottom with bars just wide enough for humans to squeeze through should the bull get too close for comfort. The fourth, and most important, side opens out into the harbor.

One at a time, the bulls are released into the arena where they are met by dozens of young boys. The goal, in keeping with the name of the festival, is to lure the bull into the water. Without being gored, hopefully.

There are three ways to beat the bull - duck between the bars below the stands; Hop onto or under the two platforms in the middle of the arena (the least safe option because bulls can get there too); and third, jump into the water, the last place the bull wants to go.

A hallmark of the event is the sight of the bull running along the edge of the arena forcing the boys to make a hasty exit into the ocean.

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The contest ends when the bull ends up in the water as well. The bulls are then rescued and brought back to shore in small boats, while visitors to the festival stream out of the stands to enjoy the festive hospitality of Denia.

Here are some of the best images from both the festivals - San Fermin (Running of the Bulls) and the Bous a la Mar (Bulls in the Sea.)

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

Priyata thinks in words and delivers in pictures. The marriage of the two, she believes, is of utmost importance. Priyata joined the Catch team after working at Barcroft Media as a picture desk editor. Prior to that she was on the Output Desk of NDTV 24X7. At work Priyata is all about the news. Outside of it, she can't stay far enough. She immerses herself in stories through films, books and television shows. Oh, and she can eat. Like really.