Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bullfighting, Spain at its purest!

Bullfights are one of the most typical expressions of Spanish culture. Bullfighting is Spain's oldest spectacle and one of the oldest in the world.

Travel around Spain - Bullfighting, Spain at its purest!

The first bullfighter in modern history was Curro Romero from Ronda who fought for the first time a bull as we know it today in 1726, the first time he killed a bull face to face with a sword and a cape. From year1700 bullfighting evolved into modern rules and became more and more popular. At this time, bullfighting no longer exclusive to the upper classes to become a professional spectacle.

Bulls are born and raised in the countryside, in the pasture. The pasture is a big upland farm with abundant grass and trees, usually oaks. Feeding the bulls is very important. There is a lot of controls on pasture and feed. With the feed prices rising, the price of fighting bulls has risen, too, ranging now from 5,000 to 30,000 euros per bull.

Manolete has been undoubtedly the best bullfighter that ever existed in the history. Born in Cordoba in 1917, he was a fragile a thin man to deal with such fury animal that the bull is. Always sad, always pale and with the permanent look of mystery and sorrow. He died in Linares in 1947 killed by a bulled called Islero.

The "traje de luces": the current costume differs rather little from that used in the XIX century. The jacket is embroidered in silk. The vest is embroidered by hand with sequins and gold and silver comb. The jacket looks like a shell, and has many layers to protect the body from the bull's horns. The flat shoes called "manoletinas" are very flexible. The weight of the suit is about 4 or 5 kg and a reasonable average price of 3,000 euros. It takes about 40 days in its preparation and is rarely used more than 4 times. 

Usually, a bullfight has three parts, called thirds, in which the bull is confronted respectively by the "picadores", men riding a horse fitted with a protective breastplate who use a lance; "banderilleros", who adorn the bull by placing 3 pairs of "banderillas" on it, and the last third, "la faena", where the bullfighter confronts the bull face to face; this third culminates in bull's death. If everything has been done correctly, at the request of the President and the public, the trophies which are bull's ears and/or tail are awarded to the bullfighter.

Bullfighting fiestas

  • Feria of San Isidro, in Madrid, around the celebration of San Isidro Labrador (May 15th) lasting 3-4 weeks.
  • Encierros de San Fermín en Pamplona, famous running of the bulls, take place in Pamplona every year from July 7th.
  • Feria de Sevilla, in April.
  • Corrida Goyesca en Ronda, at the beginning of September, bullfighters dress in XVIII century costumes.

Famous Bullrings
Las Ventas, in Madrid

La Maestranza in Sevilla

La Malagueta, in Malaga

Monumental, in Barcelona

Real Maestranza de Caballeria, in Ronda (Malaga) 

Related movies

Celebrities on bullfights
Ernst Hemingway                                  Orson Welles                                 Yul Brynner
Ava Gardner                                   Grace Kelly                                       Charlton Heston 

Flying bulls 
Yep, sometimes it happens...

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