Bullfighting in Madrid
Bullfighting is as ubiquitous in Madrid as cricket is in the Indian sub-continent, and bullfighters are given the same celebrity status as sport stars. Your trip to Madrid would not be complete, if you are not intending to witness a spine-tingling bullfight.
Plaza Monumental de Toros de las Ventas, often referred to as the Mecca to bullfighting, draws some of the finest matadors in Spain. It is believed that a matador who hasn’t proven his bullfighting skills in Las Ventas is not considered to be a top-fight artist.
Bullfighting season in Madrid is between March and October. During this period, bullfights are organized every Sunday at 7 PM at Las Ventas, but during the Feria de San Isidro and the Feria de Otoo, there are bullfights everyday. Talent scouts mingle with the spectators on these two occasions, and matadors who distinguish themselves in the ring are signed up for Majorca, Málaga, and other places.
Bullfighting is all about testing the strength of matador and bull. The chief matadors also called toreros, are the ones who actually kill the bull, and they are dressed in gold, while their subordinates wear either a silver or black dress. A typical corrida (bullfight) is divided into 6 fifteen minutes sections called faenas, which are further segregated into three sections.
In the first section, the matador and his assistants use large magenta and yellow capes to test the bull’s (toro) strength. Picadors on horsebacks pierce the bull in the back of the neck to weaken it as well as compel it to drop it’s head to the level of the matador’s capes.
In the second section, the banderilleros stab the banderillas into the back of the oncoming bull. The banderillas are long, brightly colored barbed sticks that remain in the bull’s back for some time and aggravate it.
In the final section, the matador faces the bull alone and displays his bravery and skills through a series of elegant manoeuvres. His ultimate aim is to kill the bull and to achieve his goal he exchanges the long straight sword he has been using to position his cape for a smaller one with a curved end.
To execute the kill, the matador tries to mimic the angle formed by the head of a charging bull with his cape. As the bull reiterates, it’s vital area between the shoulder blades is exposed and the matador simply inserts his sword to reach the bull’s heart. A skilled matador, executes the bull in one go, but generally several attempts are required to subdue the bull.
Tickets for the bullfight can be purchased from Las Ventas itself. Alternatively, you can contact one of Madrid’s best ticket agents, Localidades Galicia for bullfight tickets. The prices of tickets vary depending upon the day and where you plan to sit.
Sombra are the best seats, as they are available in shades. The cheapest seats are filas, but they are always in the sun and provide the worst view. Barreras are the front row seats and Delanteras are third row seats. Delanteras are available in both the alta (high) and the baja (low) sections. The bullring isn’t too big but, if you plan to see the action without paying a lot for your seats, binoculars are probably a good idea.