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Bull Riding and Bull Fighting Culture: Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Ole, ole, ole. . . Well yes, the Spanish influenced the bull culture (riding and fighting) given that the Spanish colonizers first arrived through the Gulf of Nicoya which is located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Lets fast forward to 2010. Today, the bull riding and fighting culture represents the heart of Guanacastean popular culture.

Each district or county holds patrimonial, local parties where each towns bull riding and fighting ring attracts Costa Rican citizens and foreigners from all over the country and outside of CR respectively.
The eleven counties (Nicoya, Santa Cruz, Liberia, Bagaces, Caas, Abangares, Tilarn, Carillo, La Cruz,  Nandayure, and Hojancha) each hold an annual competition during each of their parties starting in December and spreading out through the rest of the following year. Each party lasts about seven to ten days, so there is a daily bull riding and fighting round.
 First, a closer look into the bull riding culture indicates a must see and must know topic. The bull riders who travel from county to county in order to win a living by riding bulls; first prize beholds a large sum of money. Basically, when the rider is prepared in the gate, he yells puerta (door), and a rodeo assistant opens the gate door. Both the rider and the ridden bull burst out of the gate: the longest that handles the bucks of the bull wins the competition. Then, the competition continues to the next location. This type of local riding appears to be very similar to the rodeos of the United States.
Second, bull fighting, nonexistent in the States, proves to be the main attraction of each Costa Rican, Guanacastean parties. In this case, anywhere from fifty to 100 crazy fighters (crazy you will see why) emerge themselves in each counties bullring. Later, the assistants let out a young, strong bull. The main objective involves outrunning the bull without being horned, kicked, or trampled upon.

Do not fret. Although the concept bull fighting demonstrates violence, in Costa Rica, the idea is mainly to watch the people try to survive and to observe the points of action: when the measly human being gets thrown around like a rag doll by the bull. There is a law in Costa Rica which prohibits the fighters to stab or hurt the bull in anyway. In this sense, the bulls leave the ring safely; the fighters sometimes leave the ring safely, or worst case scenario, they leave banged and bruised up.

Give it a watch sometime while in Costa Rica: there are plenty

of laughs to obtain!

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