|What is it bullfighting about ? What bullfight should you look at? How many bulls are killed during a bullfight? How can you understand a bullfighting poster? What are the different types of bullfighting? Find all answers to these questions right here
Types of Bullfights
GRAN CORRRIDA DE TOROS - mature bulls, always with "picadores".
CORRIDA DE NOVILLOS - young bulls, depending on the size of the bulls - with picadores.
CORRIDA DE TOROS MIXTA - young and older bulls
CORRIDA DE REJONES / GRAN CORRIDA DEL ARTE DE REJONEO - bullfights with mounted toreros who are also the picador
CORRIDA GOYESCA: The most famous Corrida Goyesca takes place in the first days of September in Ronda. The tradition dates back to the 18th century in Goyas' time, when the Spanish dressed up to go to a bullfight. The traditional dresses have laces around the waist and a jacket with puffed sleeves. There is no obligation to dress up in this traditional way, but many Spaniards rise to the occasion and make it one more spectacle worth seeing.
Aņojos - mature bulls
Bravos Novillos - young, brave bulls
Bravos Toros - brave bulls
De la Ganaderia - from the farm
De la Granja -of the farm.
De Lidia - is the general term for bulls raised especially for bullfighting
Ejemplares - examples
Escogidos - selected
Soberbios Toros - big bulls
Novillos - young bulls
On the poster you will often see "6 Novillos 6 de Lidia " this does not mean that there will be 12 but that the 6 bulls are all especially raised for bullfighting.
Manuel Diaz - El Cordobes
David Fandilla - El Fandi
Juan Serrano - Finito de Cordoba
David Galan - Cayetano
Fransisco Rivera Ordoņez
Manuel Jesus - El Cid
Banderilleros - the ones on foot with 3 small flagged spears
Becerrada - extremely young bulls (calfs)
Burladero - protective walls within bullring
Capote - the famous red / pink cloth
Corrida - bullfight
Estoque - the capote has a spear on one end
Faena - the entire bullfighting event
(There is a Spanish saying "Eso tiene una buena faena" meaning "this will be a lot of work")
Indultar al toro - let the bull live
Matadero - the butcher
Picador - the one mounted on a horse with spears
Puntero - person who kills bull with the dagger
Rejoneo - mounted bullfighter
Torero / Matador - bullfighter
You will find the following words on most posters used to emphasize the bullfights: Extraordinaria -Espectacular - Magnifica - Grandiosa - Sensacional
Bullfighting in Andalucia
Even today, bullfighting is considered a national sport in Spain. It is here that the bull is presented in its true form, whether it is a traditional bullfight on foot or a "Corrida de Rejoneo" a bullfight on horseback. If you are looking for a less bloody bullfight then you will find it in Portugal where the bulls are not killed.
Bullfights are usually held on weekends from April through October and are only advertised locally on posters a few days in advance. These posters are very colourful, unique and easily recognisable. It is important to point out that bullfights are not for the faint of heart or those who are great animal lovers and can't bear to see animals die. Personally we do not support this, but we are a tourist information guide, so provide impartial information.
When you buy a ticket you have the choice between Sol (sunny side) and Sombra (shaded area). Sombra being more expensive is advisable as it can get very hot (especially in Sevilla). Most bullfights start at 8pm, but as it is still hot at that time of the day it would be better to wear head protection
The Spaniards tend to bring their own food and drinks to the bullfight, so do not hesitate to do the same. Drinks and crisps can be bought in the arena. Cushions can be hired and are highly recommended, as you will otherwise be sitting on bare cement. During a bullfight six bulls are usually killed by 3 bullfighters, and the corrida (bullfight) usually lasts about 2,5h-3h.
Hemingway had a great passion for bullfights and after having read his book "The Sun also Rises", I became curious and needing photos for the website I went to a Corrida de Rejoneo. At first I felt rather unwell but after the first bull was killed, I began to understand more about the passion and the honour celebrated by the torero. The atmosphere in the ring, the constant "olé's", the sizzling heat and the colourful senoritas give an idea of why bullfighting is so ingrained in the majority of Spaniards, although it must mentioned that many Spaniards oppose bullfighting and are trying to forbid it in Spain.
Before the bullfight the toreros (bullfighter) present themselves in the bullring to the "president" and throw their hats behind their backs. If the hat lands upside down it is considered bad luck and you will see the bullfighter flipping his hat over in order to change his luck. The music used during a bullfight is always a PASO DOBLE.
Once the bullfight begins, the picador comes out first on horseback in order to weaken the bull. The president, sitting in his box is the one to decide when he should stop. The audience usually does not like the picador to weaken the bull too much and will start whistling indicating to the president that the banderillero (the one with 3 small flagged spears) should come out. All three flags should be stuck into the bull. Finally the torero comes out and the drama begins which ends with the bulls death. In case he fails to kill the bull, the puntero (at times the torero himself) will kill the bull with a dagger in the back of its head.
Once a bull has been killed the President decides what reward the bullfighter should be honoured with by using white flags. One white flag stands for an ear to be cut off, two white flags for two ears and three for the tail as well. The Maestro de la Plaza will be the one to cut off the parts of the bull and present them to the torero. The blue flag stands for a round of honour for the bull, which will be dragged by horses around the arena. Watch out as the bullfighters might throw the ears into the audience for someone to keep as a souvenir !!! Sometimes the president decides to let the bull live if he feels it has been particularly brave. These bulls will be used as sperm donors and live the rest of their lives on a farm.
At the end of the fight women often throw their scarves to the bullfighter for him to kiss and throw back. Did I mention that in the old days bullfighters were celebrated like pop stars? This still applies today.
Bulls are solely raised for bullfights as the cost of raising a bull is very high.. It needs to e raised on a big plot of land allowing for a lot of movement. This is why when they are fed, the food is placed in a spot far away, so they have to walk to it and thereby exercise. (The same method is applied the Iberian pig but in this case the water is moved, not the food, seeing as it feeds off acorns falling from the trees.) It would not pay off to raise a bull only to sell the meat, but after a bullfight a vet certifies the quality of the bull and it is sent to the official matadero (butcher). Usually nearby restaurants will buy the meat in an auction. Some time ago, each bullfight ring had its' own butchers and the meat was given to the poor. The meat however is usually very tough as the bull whilst being killed shoots adrenalin into his body and tenses the muscles. However the 2rabo de toro" oxtail dish is delicious.
If you happen to be in Sevilla when they have the 25 days of continuous bullfighting spend one day outside the ring and wait until the corrida is over to see what happens..