Monday, March 24, 2008

sacrifice in sevilla

easter sunday was sevilla´s bullrings´ opening night of the season, so alex and i coughed up 55 euro each to catch this spectacle of spectacles.

aaaaand nothing spells class like raising an animal to be violent and then slowly killing them while wearing sparkly suits in front of a crowd of jeering plebeians. but this is the classiness that is a corrida de torros, here in the oldest of bullrings in sevilla, spain. first, all of the participants in the fights come out in a procession to greet the dignintaries that sit at one end of the ring. there are 6 fights, 6 bulls, 3 matadors with 3 peones and 3 banderilleros and 2 picadors each, 2 bulls for each group of men. First, the peones come out with pink and yellow capes, and get the bull good and ready to charge, training it to follow the moves of the cloth. then, the horns of the band sound and out come the picadors, men on heavily shielded and blindfolded horses who land the first blow on the bull. the bull charges them, and they stab it with a long pointy rod from their lofty position. usually the bull writhes around a bit, trying to defend itself against what it must think the horse has done, and the horse is just moved around by the bull and acts befuddled.

then, the banderilleros come out, these are men with a set of spears with frilly decorations on them, and they have no capes. the hold the spears to get the bulls attention and then the bull charges them, and they have the stick the spears into its side, where they usually stay, hanging on by the flesh of the pierced animal. i think this is the most dangerous role in the group, because these men have no capes to hide behind or to make them look bigger, they are alone with the bull and their spears.

finally, when the bull is largely weakened, the matador comes out and does the usual posturing, having the bull run circles around him using his cape with the crowd crying ole at every successful attempt. finally, after the bull has been tired out, the matador gets his sword and lands the find blow to the bull, deep into its flesh.

the ensuing minutes are the very very worst of the match. the peones come back out and wave their capes in front of the dying bull in its last minutes of life. it tries to charge, but has lost all of its energy by the constant attacks by this batch of bullies. it is the saddest for me, like a group of scavengers, huddling over this near-dead animal, waiting for it to fall to its knees and for their matador to gain glory. bleeding from its side and out of its mouth, the animal falls onto its front knees and then onto its side, breathing its last in front of the cheering crowd.

if the matador has pleased the crowd enough, everyone holds up their handkerchiefs, and he is awarded the bull´s ear, a prized gift.

to me, this show is barbaric, but one that i am glad that i witnessed. i felt part of the tradition of man overcoming beast for the joy of the masses that has its roots in places from rodeos to the Colosseum.

that was my easter sunday. but im sure the lying around and eating ham you did was cool, too.

1 comment:

Scott & Kristen said...

You two are sure taking in the sights! What an event to see in person--a cultural experience! You'll have to share more about your traveling (bus, train, taxi, etc.), lodging, and the various cuisines. Are you finding it easy to navigate the areas and communicate?