Mexico 2003: Bullfighting

The first two weeks of May are dedicated to memories of living in Mexico in 2003.  Todays post is about when we went to see bullfighting.

Our friend Gustavo’s mom owned a bull ranch and had grown up around bull fighting.  His family (whose daughter Belén is who our daughter is named after) invited us to the bullfight (corrida) one night in Guadalajara.

There was a lot of pagentry and as you can see from the stands, it is not such a popular sport anymore.


We saw six bulls and three matadors, what is typical for an afternoon.  Each showdown was pretty short and I don’t recall it lasting much longer than 15 minutes.  Each time a bull came out, the matador greeted the new bull with some maneuvering of his large cape.

People in the stand applauded when the matador acted “brave” which I believe was determined by his proximity to the horns of the bull.

Contrary to popular belief, the bull is not actually attracted to the cape because of its red color, since bulls are color blind.  Out of natural instinct, he charges the large, moving target (regardless of color) because of his natural instinct and centuries of special breeding.


The second part of each fight (as described from this website) consists of the work of the picadors, bearing lances and mounted on horses.  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.

We took a video of the banderilleros with our little point and shoot.

Finally, the last (and my least favorite) part of the fight is the kill, where the matador places his sword between the bulls shoulder blades. I found it sad each time, but I was reminded that the bulls bred for bullfighting actually live 1-2 years longer than non-bullfighting bulls.  Still, after seeing this:

I needed a drink.

I was SO excited to drink wine out of a boda bag!

I was SO excited to drink wine out of a boda bag!

Besides the boda bag the part I remember most was that night after the fights were finished.  The Guillimin family took us behind the ring where they slaughter the bulls.  They were all hanging upside down and the floor was covered with blood.  Apparently a bull learns how to fight so they cannot take the risk of allowing them to fight multiple times so they have to kill them at the end of each fight.  It was sad.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: