After our first experience with the bulls and horses in our village (as documented in a previous blog post), we were treated to more charging in the streets last weekend. A slightly different course to the previous display but with same iron bars and firecrackers, and of course pastis!
There is also a small bull arena in our village that hosted a bull contest. We didn’t know quite what to expect before paying our entry fee, and were equally perplexed throughout however by the end think we had figured it out.
There were twelve men dressed head-to-toe in white inside the arena, into which a succession of bulls were then set loose one by one from a side gate. The objective seemed to be to get the bull to charge at them with the only escape being to hurl themselves over the red barriers at the edge of the ring. We saw some very athletic dives over the fences with various limbs being within a hairs width of the bulls horns!
On closer examination, we deduced that there were two teams up against each other, with what looked like four ‘runners’, and two ‘distractors’ on each team. The runners were the younger men and were wearing what appeared to be claw-like devices on their hands. We realised that the objective was for them to get as close as possible to the head of the bull in order to remove small strings that were tied around the horns. I was pleased to be sat at a safe distance away from the action!
There was another bank holiday in France the week just gone, being “Victory in Europe Day”. There were no bulls in the streets to mark this occasion but we are still reeling from what we saw the week before!