Friday, 24 May 2013

Corrida de Toros: What to Expect in a Bullfight

We went to a bullfight last weekend as a treat for a visiting friend. This was my first time to watch a bullfight, here's my experience. WARNING:GRAPHIC DETAILS AHEAD!

The beautiful and ornate Plaza de Toros Las Ventas, Madrid

The expansive bullring.

The torero, preparing for the bull. One thing I must say, the costumes of the toreros were beautiful.

First contact of the toro and the torero

What happens in a bullfight:
**No pictures, but a graphic description follows**

The bull is first tested by the torero to check its aggressiveness with a few passes through the now famous red/pink matador cape.

Next, a horseman with a lance enters the bullring, the bull is distracted by the torero's assistants so that it sees and approaches the horseman. The horseman then stabs the bull with his lance twice causing the first loss of blood for the bull.

A few more cape flashing by the torero to check how the bull is doing. Then two men holding colorful sharp metal sticks enter the bullring and agitate the bull by planting these sharp sticks into the bull's shoulders. More blood loss for the bull.

At this stage with the bull hurt and agitated, the torero takes center stage for the final showdown, passing the now weaker and bleeding bull through his cape. A few more passes is made to entertain the audience, then in the final pass, the torero trusts a long sword through the bull's neck, hopefully passing through its heart.

The bull does not die immediately, sometimes, the bull could still stand and run and the torero waves his cape a few more times, until the bull suddenly drops to the ground, sometimes vomiting blood, and finally dies.

At the bullfighting session we watched, there were six bulls slayed. To be honest, we wanted to get out after the first slay, but waited until the fifth slay to leave the arena.

Bullfighting is not a sport. The defenders say it is an art. But definitely it is not a sport. There is no equal footing here. Any bull entering the bullring will die, no matter how aggressive it is. It is 1 (the bull) against many ( the toreros, the horsemen, the lancers, and more toreros on standby ready to assist the main participants).

Apparently, these bulls live 5-7 years in the wilderness and are taken care of really well until the day they enter the bullring. At least, that's what the defenders of bullfighting say.

To be honest, I cannot get past the fact that the bull goes to the bullring with no other choice than to die. How cruel is that? One of the bulls we watched die was really aggressive and was fighting for its life. One of his horn broke, and after the sword was trust into his heart, he still ran around for close to a minute, fighting death. Alas, there is no happy ending for a toro in the bullring.

I went to watch the bullfight because a friend was here in Madrid for a visit and we wanted to see how it was. We were all first timers. After the show, this is what he said: "Pagkatapos mong manood ng bullfight, gusto mo nang magvegetarian." Bullfighting is a cruel thing. At least that's what the three of us felt.

If any other friends come to Spain and requests to see a bullfight, I will give all the details ---where to buy the tickets, how to go, how much it costs, but I will never ever again watch a bullfight. Good thing that in some places, like Barcelona, bullfighting has been banned.

If you are in Madrid and you still want to watch bullfighting, here's Las Ventas' website:
Our upper box tickets cost 20€ each. Good luck and prepare your iron stomach!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I've never seen a bullfight before!

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    Hope you had a nice week!


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