***Warning this post contains pictures of a bullfight, so there will be a bit of violence, not too much, and blood. So if you have a week stomach, please be warned. Also i would like to say I’m not promoting this kind of sport whether you feel it is cruel or not, just sharing my experience.***
Well i thought i would all share with you my experience when i went to Spain a couple of months back to see my girlfriend who is studying there.
I was lucky enough to go for a week during the Feria de mayo (the festival of May!) held during the last week of May. Although I was in Cordoba, the festival is held through out most cities in the region of Andalusia.
During this week a massive fair is erected within the city and various celebrations occur, generally lots of people drinking and generally having fun within the streets, dancing singing.
Though the main attraction is the daily bull fights that occur daily during the week of the feria, So I’m just going to try and share the experience i witnessed, during the Saturday bullfight.
Sabado 26 de Mayo:
So there we were(my girlfriend and i) standing outside the la Plaza de Toros(bull ring) at around 18:30, the atmosphere was electric, all the locals were standing around with beers chatting (more like shouting) about which of bullfighters they were about the see is the best. Anyway we made our way into the stadium to find our seats, (recommend brining a cushion as they are made of concrete and my bottom was numb by the end of it
) So the bull fight started at around 7:30 with the blast of the trumpets, and the parade of the bull fighting team emerged.
Now a bull fighting team or cuadrilla comprises of a matador (bullfighter) and six assistants — two picadores ("lancers") mounted on horseback, three banderilleros ("flagmen"), and a mozo de espada ("sword servant").
During this Saturday there was 4 matadors each fought two bulls, each of which was at least 460-600 kg
Now going to give a brief explanation of how the bullfight goes about. There are traditionally three parts to a corrida (bullfight) known as tercios, start of each announced by a trumpet sound. The participants first enter the arena in a parade to salute the presiding dignitary, accompanied by band music.
In the first stage, the tercio de varas ("the third of lancing"), the matador first confronts the bull and observes his behaviour in an initial section called suerte de capote.
Next, two picadores enter the arena on horseback, each armed with a lance or varas.
The picador stabs a mound of muscle on the bull's neck, which lowers its blood pressure, so that the enraged bull does not have a heart attack. The bull's charging and trying to lift the picador's horse with its neck muscles also weakens its massive neck and muscles. I’m not posting pictures of this as they came out really blurry and grainy. Also like to note no horses were hurt during this part.
In the next stage, the tercio de banderillas ("the third of banderillas"), the three banderilleros each attempt to plant two barbed sticks (called banderillas) on the bull's flanks. These further weaken the enormous ridges of neck and shoulder muscle through loss of blood, while also frequently spurring the bull into making more ferocious charges.
In the final stage, the tercio de muerte ("the third of death"), the matador re-enters the ring alone with a small red cape (muleta) and a sword. He uses his cape to attract the bull in a series of passes, both demonstrating his control over it and risking his life by getting especially close to it.
A final series of passes in which the matador with a muleta attempts to manoeuvre the bull into a position to stab it between the shoulder blades and through the aorta or heart. The act of thrusting the sword is called an estocada.
Now as i mentioned before there were 4 matadors, I’m going to show you pictures of 2 of them.
The second matadors I’m showing you is Manuel Diaz Gonzales aka
If the matadors is cheered enough (if he was brave enough or had enough flare) after the bull is killed, the president would indicate with a white handkerchief whether the matador will receive the bull's ear. In this case El Cordobes received one, and proceeded with his lap of honour.
I apologise for the blurry pictures unfortunately i only have a simple Olympus 4mp P and S, so quality of the crops aren’t the best, looking forward to get my new dslr soon. (Still can't decide between d40x and e400!)
I hope you enjoyed the post, although the sport is truly bloody i found myself full of adrenaline and excitement during the whole corrida, with a pack of sunflower seeds in one hand and a beer in the other, this was better then any football match i have ever been to!
I would seriously recommend going to a bullfight if one has the stomach, although would recommend less tourist places such as Cordoba and Jaen instead of Madrid. You seem to get the proper feel of the local crowd who cheer on the home grown matadors like their own children.
Thanks for reading
p.s. Have removed some of the bloodier ones, if you want to see all of the photos in the set they are here http://www.flickr.com/photos/8158823@N06/sets/72157600583759454/