Bullfight (corrida de toros)
Bullfight (corrida de toros) of Barcelona, Spain
A bullfight is a traditional spectacle of Spain. It was once considered a noble sport now is considered an art, not a sport. It is when a matador is trained to perform formal moves, that place him in close proximity to the raging bull, in danger of being gored or trampled by the bull. Bullfights take place between March to October each year in Spain. They usually start around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. and last between two and three hours. There are normally two or three bulls killed in a fight.
Formal moves of a bullfighter
The formal moves or passes are called the “faena” which means “job.” One such move is called the “natural” which is a left hand pass. There are three to five “tandas or series” and then the finishing touch is the “remates.” When there are spectacular passes made, they are celebrated with the audience shouting “ole!”
History of Bullfighting
The first record of bullfighting is found in the Epic of Gilgamesh which was written in approx. 2100 BC. Originally bullfighting was preformed on horseback with a lance until around 1726 AD when it was introduced on foot. The current style of bull fighting was introduced by Francisco Romero Lopez in the 1950’s.
La Maestranza of Seville, Spain
The first arena for bull fighting was built in Seville, Spain. It was built out of wood and was originally rectangular. Later the arena was rebuilt round so the bulls could not retreat to the corners then in 1881 AD the La Maestranza was built. The arena holds 12,500 people. If you prefer to not attend a bullfight, you can visit the arena, see the chapel, stables and historical architecture.
Special bull for bullfighting
A special bred of bull is used called the “toro bravo” which originated from the uru bred of bull. Uru is a type of oxen. The toro bravo is the favored type of bull because of turn of their horns. They enter the arena when they are between four and six years old. The bulls used in the ring weigh in at around 1,014 pounds.
Running of the bulls
Bull fights begin during the day with an event called the encierro (running) or Entrada de toras y caballa, which is the running of the bulls and horses that will be in the bullfight that evening through the streets to the pens in plaza where the bulls are held to until the evening bullfight. The runners guide the bulls and horses through the streets to the pens and if you want to risk it you can join in this event.
Parade of entourage
The fight begins with a single bugle sound. Then the cuadrilla or entourage enter in a parade called the paseillo. The entourage consists of a matador and six assistants; there are two picadores (lancers) , three banderilleros (flagmen) in their silver suits, and one mozo de espada (sword servant). All six of the assistants arrive on horseback and the matador in his Anda gold suit (suits of light) is on foot. This is a striking sight event to see. They precede to the President’s balcony for nod of their heads to start the fight.
The fight consists of three stages;
Stage 1 - Tercio de varas (the lancing third) - the matador observes the bulls behavior as two flagmen wave him across the arena.
Stage 2 - Two picadors with lances (vara) stab the bull behind his shoulders with the lances weakening him.
Stage 3 - Tercio de muerte (the third death) - The matador enters alone with a small red cape stretched over a dowel. He completes several passes bringing the bull close to his body. After the first pass he has 15 minute to kill the bull. He uses an estoque or sword to pierce the heart of the bull. The bull is then pulled around the arena
If the crowd demands the matador is allowed a lap of victory around the ring. This is interesting event. At the fight I attended they threw bags of wine, their pants, flowers, shoes, and more. The gentleman who threw his pants was made to do without them until the matador returned them at the end of his victory lap. The matador drank wine from the shoes threw them back to the owners. He also threw some of the long stemmed flowers back into the audience as they shouted “ole!”
If the judges deem the fight a “good fight” the matador is awarded one of the bulls ears, if an “exceptional fight” both of the bulls ears, and an “excellent fight” both ears and its tail. The excellent fight means the President has decided that the bull may live and it is returned to the pen and not killed. The President signifies this decision by hanging an orange flag from their balcony during the final stage. If the President stands the bull is to be killed. Officially, the ears and tail are only removed from dead bulls so the ears and tail are from another bull.
What do they do with ears and a tail?
The question was asked what do they do with the ears and tail? They have them taxidermy and keep them as trophies.
Sol y Sombra - Corrida De Toros
The bullfight I attended was the Sol y Sombra - Domingo 31 Julio 1994 - Corrida De Toros. (Rain or Shine - Sunday July 31, 1994 - “running of the bulls”)
The Torero or Matador was the famous Je'sus Janerio Ubrique - Bazan. He was a twenty year old young man who, started out as a goalkeeper in soccer who upon injuring his knee, pursued bullfighting. On October 7, 1994 he hosted the first ever bull fight dedicated to women with over 9,000 women attending from all over Spain. All of the officials of this fight were women. He killed seven bulls, and received 8 ears and 1 tail.
October 7, 1994 Bullfight to honor women
There was much I loved about Barcelona and would return to see more of it if the opportunity arose. I do not believe that I would go to another bullfight. The bull is butchered thus it is not a waste of good meat, but it is called a “bloody sport” for a reason.