Bullfighting in Spain is a traditional spectacle that became popular in the 18th century. It's probably one of the most ancient mass entertainments of the world. Actually, bullfights are considered one of the symbols of the Hispanic culture and an art expression.
Bullfighting is considered an art-form and high culture for its aesthetic and traditions. Moreover, it's a metaphor of a fight between mankind (represented by the torero) and the Death, whose symbol is a bull. As such, it's a spectacle full of emotions: people either love it or hate it.
In a bullfight, 3 toreros have to fight 2 bulls each and, ultimately, kill them. It's always held in a round-shape arena or venue called plaza de toros.
Additionally, each bullfight is divided into 3 tercios (stages) and lasts for around 20 minutes: tercio de varas, tercio de banderillas and tercio de muerte. Bullfighting in Spain generally lasts between 1h20 and 2h20.
The fight has the exact same structure for every one of the 6 bulls. The tercio de varas starts right after the bull enters the ring. It's the first contact the matador has with the bull and he'll have the chance to observe the its behavior.
As the bull is encouraged by the matador to attack the horse, the picadores' mission will be to stab the bull's neck. The picador needs to weaken the bull's neck muscles and make it less dangerous.
During the tercio de banderillas, 3 banderilleros will try to stick 2 poles with a metal point, similar to an arrow, in the bull's shoulders. As a result, the banderilleros' attacks will further weaken the bull's strength making him losing power.
The matador enters the arena alone at the beginning of the tercio de muerte. He carries with him a red cape called muleta, and a sword (estoque). By placing the sword behind the muleta, the matador uses it to entice the bull and to provoke it to charge.
The faena (job) or performance with the muleta is very visual. The faena ends with the estocada or the act of stabbing the bull to death. It's the most difficult task the matador faces in a corrida because he might be gored while performing it.
If you are interested in buying tickets (billetes) for a bullfighting in Spain, have a look at some insider tips and suggestions. Moreover, you'll learn everything you need to know about the different type of seats, where to buy the tickets and have an idea of a price range.
You either buy your tickets online, go to the bullring ticket office or from one of the peddlers wandering around the plaza (but you'll have to pay an overprice).
In Seville, the most important bullfighting event takes place during the Feria de Abril. Bullfights begin at end of the Semana Santa, on the Domingo de Resureccion (Easter Sunday). After a short break, a bullfight is scheduled every day for 16-18 days.
Have a look at the official schedule. You may like to attend to a corrida during your stay in Seville.
In Madrid, Las Ventas holds bullfights from March or April (depending on the Semana Santa dates) until October. As a matter of fact, Madrid is the mecca of bullfighting because of its tradition, the audience's thoroughness towards the toreros and the impressive size of its bullring.
Have a look at the Madrid bullfighting official schedule. It's a great alternative to go to a corrida if you happen to miss Seville's season -Madrid is a much longer one and chances are you will surely find a date that suits your itinerary.
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