Learning about bullfighting: a day at the Plaza de Toros

By Henry Vermillion

A day in the Bullfight Ring
Sat, Oct 26, 10am-1pm
Plaza de Toros Oriente
Recreo 52
Free and open to the public

Bullfighting is an ancient tradition in most Latin countries, including, of course, Mexico. (Others are Spain, France, Columbia, Portugal, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador.) It’s an art—the only one in which the artist faces the real possibility of imminent death. Bullfighting requires a great deal of discipline and training. For those who want an inside glimpse into the preparation for a corrida de toros, an all-day training session for young aspiring matadors will be open to the public at the Plaza Oriente on Recreo Saturday, October 26, from 10am-1:30pm. Admission is free. The training sessions will be followed in the afternoon by a meal at the Restaurant La Mesa del Matador with free beer tasting from a new brand, taurine discussions (a tertulia) conducted by Centro Taurino Queretano (a well-known taurine club from Queretaro), an exhibit of photography exhibit by the famed taurine photographer Donaciano Botello, and will close with taurine poetry (in Spanish). Photographers and artists who want to record some of these colorful goings-on are especially invited, as well as anyone who wants to learn more about the intricacies and traditions of this unique spectacle. Members of the public will be able to test their bravery by caping the calves. No animals will be harmed during the day’s events.

The schedule is as follows (remember that almost nothing in Mexico runs exactly on schedule):

10-11:30am Practice of students of the Taurine Culture Academy of Celaya

11:30am-12:10pm Practice session of the Forcados of Queretaro (Forcados are the group of men on foot who meet the charge of the bull barehanded and pile on to try to momentarily immobilize him)

12:20pm Tienta by the Celaya students. (A tienta is the important testing of young female animals for bravery, to give an indication of the likelihood that their male offspring will also be brave). A grown cow will also be released for practice by the Forcados.

2:30pm Food and beer sampling at the Restaurant La Mesa del Matador (Libramiento Manuel Zavala 13, just past Mega). Free samples of “Sangre Brava” beer.

6pm Opening Taurine photographs by Donacio Botello of Celaya (La Mesa del Matador)

7pm Taurine poetry recital by Jesus Rodríguez from León, Gto. (La Mesa del Matador)


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