Running with the Bulls in the Azores

f24a4-fotolia_90455784_xsTerceira, Sao Miguel and Graciosa islands are well-known for the bullfight by the rope (Touradas á corda) which takes place every summer in the Azores. This very special event is unique to the Azores, and has been a tradition practiced since the 16th century. From May to October there will be about 250 events in the Azores where there will be friendly running with the bulls and outdoor festivals and if you happen to be visiting at this time it is recommended to check it out. 83a19-image_4The bull is let loose with a very long rope around its neck, usually at the main road in a small village or in an outdoor arena. Before every bull gets out of the wooden crate, there will be a small rocket or fireworks launched which indicates that the game is ready to begin. The bull is guided by several experienced men, keeping a grip on the rope. The whole idea is, that the local young men now try to get as close to the bull as they dare, teasing the bull in a friendly manner.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 44618831_m.jpg

All of these events require a certain degree of caution to be exercised by all parties involved. This is very amusing and somewhat dangerous attempt for the local boys to impress the local girls or their friends by running in on the agitated bull. The event is a fun and safe event since the bull is enclosed usually in an arena and always has a number of men holding the rope, with the bulls owner onsite. After a while the bull is taken back to the wooden crate that it arrived in, and another rocket will be launched; announcing a break in the game.

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Postcard from 1901 in Terceira Island showing the traditional Bull Fight

Now it’s time to move around, have something delicious to eat, a drink (or several), and enjoy the festivities that are taking place. It is truly an amazing experience to celebrate in the village or town when they are celebrating their parishes patron saint, here is where you get a true taste of the Azorean spirit and culture that comes out in their beautiful celebrations. Tourada_a_cordTerceiraThis is an outstanding local event, and attracts many people both locals and tourists who come for the adrenaline rushed event. As a tourist you should arrive in due time and find a secure place with a good view. Usually there are a total of 3-4 bulls in every event and the event can last for up to 2 hours. To find out where and when this event take place you just need to ask the tourist office or at the local bar, here every local knows when the “Touradas a Corda” will take place.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 14.10.02-sergio-monte-o-senhor-chefe-das-apanhadeiras-do-chacc81-gorreana.jpg

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