Thursday, August 16, 2012

Toro! Toro!

Toro!  Toro!!

One of Spain's oldest traditions, and it's national sport, is not one of it's nicest-  it's bullfighting, and many see this as more animal cruelty than sport.  Yet still it goes on, as it has for over 1000 years!  Each year tens of thousands of people watch as the Matador and the toro (bull) fight to the death (the bull's death) in bullfighting arenas all over Spain, I however, am not about to reinact something so violent at home.  There will be no blood shed on my watch!  So we will, instead, reinact something just as traditional (and pointless) - the RUNNING OF THE BULLS!!

The Running of the Bulls (encierro in Spanish) is a crazy act of bravery (and show of stupidity) where men and women (mostly men) run alongside bulls that are let loose in a sectioned off area of town.  Encierros are held in towns and villages all across Spain and Portugal but the most famous one is in Pamplona Spain.  They originally started when bulls for the bullfights were being brought from the ranches to the bullfighting arenas in town.  Young men would show their courage and move the herd along by taunting them and running with them.  More and more people started doing this (I'm sure against their wives and mothers' wishes) and a tradition was born.  Runners must be over 18 and traditionally wear white shirt and pants with a red belt and neckerchief.  They carry a newspaper to whack the bull and taunt it (make it mad is more like it).  A herd of 15 bulls is released and they run through the town to the bull ring.  In Pamplona it is only about 903 yards and is over in about 5 minutes.  As short as that is though, every year between 200-300 people are hurt, mostly from falls, and since 1924, 15 people have been killed.   Knock on wood, but hopefully our reinactment will be much less dangerous!

For this game you will need:
  • 1 set of bullhorns for the "bull" we made ours from foam sheets
  • belt or sash with strips of paper or ribbon taped or velcroed on (like flag football belts)
  • as many runners as you can get
  • big grassy (or not) area to run in
  • designated areas for start and home base
How to play:  Decide who is going to be the bull and put on horns and belt. Runners disperse around designated area and yell "Toro" as the bull starts to run towards home base and avoid the runners who are trying to get the ribbons off the bull.  If the bull can get to home base with his ribbons intact he/she wins and gets to pick either to be the bull again or who will be the next bull.  If a runner gets the ribbon he/she wins and gets to be the next bull or pick who is the next bull.  Sound like fun?  We're off to the park to find out...

The Bull (note the foam horns)
The runners trying to get the bulls tail (we had 2 tails)
They each "won" so they got to pick who was next...guess who?
Lucky Daddy gets to be the bull again!!