Bull fighting
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  Posted April 14th, 2016 by Zdenko  in Travel | 10 comments

Travel Mexico

By: Galen Frysinger

Bullfighting in Mexico
The Spanish occupation of Mexico led to the rise of bullfighting in the country. Also known as fiesta brava, the sport has been one of the most popular in the country for the last 400 years.

Bullfighting in Mexico is similar to the Spanish style of bullfighting. Matadores perform specific moves, occasionally using a piece of red cloth, to attract a bull in a graceful manner. Typically, a bullfighting show includes rodeos, pig chases and dances, before the bullfight begins. In the end, the bull is killed with a sword. 

imgp0337Thousands of bullfighting events occur annually in Mexico. In certain areas in the country, bullfighting rakes in huge amounts of money yearly, coming from both tourists and fellow Mexicans.

As evidence of the popularity of the sport, the largest bullring in the world can be found in Mexico. The bullring is known as Plaza Mexico, which is located in Ciudad de los Deportes, Mexico City. Plaza Mexico can seat around 40,000 people. It was opened on February 5, 1946. The anniversary of the opening of Plaza Mexico has been celebrated every year thereafter with a special bullfight called the Corrida de Aniversario. 

imgp0328Of course, with popularity comes controversy. Organizations promoting animal rights have rallied against the sport of bullfighting in Mexico. They argued that the sport was not only dangerous for the matador, but more so for the horses and, of course, the bulls. Other actions against bullfighting were also done, such as the establishment of humane education programs and the creation of mascot Pepe the Bull. At one point, individuals under 18 years old were banned from watching the sport. However, fans protested by bringing their families to watch the sport.

Bullfighting remains prominent during the dry season, about November to March. Tickets may be bought at the bullring. Prices for the tickets vary, ranging anywhere from $5 to $55.

imgp0331The following blog was borrowed from Mr. Galen Frysinger’s blogging site: http://www.galenfrysinger.com/bull_fight_cancun.htm

Photos are from 1987 and his visit to bull fighting in Cancun: 

bullfight01Six bulls, to be killed by three matadors, are usually required for one afternoon’s corrida, and each encounter lasts about 15 minutes. At the appointed time, generally five o’clock, the three matadors, each followed by their assistants, the banderilleros and the picadors, march into the ring to the accompaniment of traditional paso doble (“march rhythm”) music. The matadors (the term toreador, popularized by the French opera Carmen, is erroneous usage) are the stars of the show. They wear a distinctive costume, consisting of a silk jacket heavily embroidered in gold, skintight pants, and a montera (a bicorne hat). A traje de luces (“suit of lights”), as it is known, can cost several thousand dollars; a top matador must have at least six of them a season.

bullfight102the bull

When a bull first comes into the arena out of the toril, or bull pen gate, the matador greets it with a series of maneuvers, or passes, with a large cape; these passes are usually verónicas, the basic cape maneuver (named for the woman who held out a cloth to Christ on his way to the crucifixion).

bullfight104the team

The amount of applause the matador receives is based on his proximity to the horns of the bull, his tranquility in the face of danger, and his grace in swinging the cape in front of an infuriated animal weighing more than 460 kg (more than 1000 lb). The bull instinctively goes for the cloth because it is a large, moving target, not because of its color; bulls are color-blind and charge just as readily at the inside of the cape, which is yellow.

Fighting bulls charge instantly at anything that moves because of their natural instinct and centuries of special breeding. Unlike domestic bulls, they do not have to be trained to charge, nor are they starved or tortured to make them savage. Those animals selected for the corrida are allowed to live a year longer than those assigned to the slaughter house. Bulls to be fought by novilleros (“beginners”) are supposed to be three years old and those fought by full matadors are supposed to be at least four.

bullfight126the padded horse

The second part of the corrida consists of the work of the picadors, bearing lances and mounted on horses (padded in compliance with a ruling passed in 1930 and therefore rarely injured). The picadors wear flat-brimmed, beige felt hats called castoreños, silver-embroidered jackets, chamois trousers, and steel leg armor. After three lancings or less, depending on the judgment of the president of the corrida for that day, a trumpet blows, and the banderilleros, working on foot, advance to place their banderillas (brightly adorned, barbed sticks) in the bull’s shoulders in order to lower its head for the eventual kill. They wear costumes similar to those of their matadors but their jackets and pants are embroidered in silver.

bullfight111attacking the horse

bullfight108score one for the bull

bullfight109separating the bull from the fallen horse and rider

bullfight110remounting

bullfight115still fighting

bullfight140chasing the matador

bullfight106cornered and hurting

bullfight132the kill

After several minutes spent in making passes, wherein the matador tries to stimulate the excitement of the crowd by working closer and closer to the horns, the fighter takes the sword and lines up the bull for the kill. The blade must go between the shoulder blades; because the space between them is very small, it is imperative that the front feet of the bull be together as the matador hurtles over the horns. The kill, properly done by aiming straight over the bull’s horns and plunging the sword between its withers into the aorta region, requires discipline, training, and raw courage; for this reason it is known as the “moment of truth.”

bullfight135victory

bullfight136presentation of the ears

bullfight107off to become hamburgers

bullfight102an afternoon’s entertainment

Narrative By: Barnaby Conrad (Microsoft Encarta)

Hope you liked the article and learnt something new!

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