When people talk about Granada they usually mention the tapa bars and the famous Alhambra. At least, those were the aspects I heard about the most before actually arriving in Granada. So imagine my surprise when , during the first day of classes, talk turned to the upcoming bullfight. With tickets priced at a measly €5, there was no reason not to tag along.
Plaza de Toros
Plaza de Toros is the massive arena where the actual bullfighting happens. We climbed until we had a decent view of the sandy playing field below (which we would later regret).
The festivities started with a ceremonial dance, complete with white horses doing some fancy bending moves. Next, the matadors appeared, decked out in vibrant and glittery costumes with matching shoes. They too did a little performance, stopping to bow, wave, and accept flowers and handkerchiefs from their fans.
The first bull was led in to applause and soon it was charging at the matadors left and right. After a few near misses, an assortment of knives and swords were brought out and then, something I honestly wasn’t expecting happened.
Well, That’s Not What I Expected
Let me start out by saying that before that day, I didn’t know they actually killed the bulls. Stupid, I know. I thought that it would be like the alligator wrestling that’s showcased on Animal Planet every now and then. A few minutes of rough housing and dangling limbs in front of the animal’s most dangerous parts and then it’s set free and allowed to sulk back to where it came from. Not really the case in this situation. It was pretty gory so I’ll spare you all the details. When the bulls actually bit the dust, the crowd responded with a chorus of “Ole!”. It reminded me of high school Spanish classes when we would play bingo and yell out “Ole!” when we had a match.This, however, was a very different circumstance.
When I told my señora how I felt about the experience that night, she pretty much said to man up. It was a part of the cultura. Plus,she also revealed that the meat from the bulls is donated to homeless shelters and other organizations that feed those who wouldn’t have a meal otherwise. Even so, bullfighting is still a controversial topic in Spain and that’s partly why the activity is becoming less popular.
Bottom line, it was a part of Spanish culture. The whole point of moving to Spain was to see and experience the unfamiliar,even the parts that I didn’t find particularly fun or entertaining. Because of that, I don’t regret going. In fact, I’m happy I did. Will I be lining up to buy tickets to a bullfight the next time I’m in Spain?