Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bous a la Mar!

Bous a la Mar or ‘Bulls to the sea’ is yet another of Spain’s man vs. bull spectacle that’s unique to Valencia’s coastal region.

As opposed to the traditional Bull Fights and Bull Runs of San Fermin in Pamplona, Bous a la Mar is held next to the harbor as its name might suggest, and it’s relatively safer.
It is not gory blood sport but a fun event where the objective is for the participants to lure the bull into the water. More often than not though, it is the bull that is more successful at sending its young opponents diving!

In the town of Dénia, this event is typically held annually during the 2nd week of July in conjunction with the ‘Santísima Sangre’ festival.

Above: The entrance into the rectangular arena by the harbor, next to the port. Tickets cost 1 euro each and the show lasts for about an hour with at least 6 rounds per show.

Above: Spectators on the stand and participants in the arena waiting for the excitement to begin.

Above: One has to decide whether to run, duck, climb or jump into the water when the raging bull charges.

Above: In an unexpected move, the bull jumps onto the stage, scattering the crowd into various directions and causing all in the audience to gasp.

Above: Often, an experienced bull manages to send his row of opponents leaping off the edge of the harbour into the water, yet maintains its own grip on the slippery ground and halts just in time. Olé for the bull!

Above: The ground area underneath the stand where participants/spectators are protected by vertical bars with spaces broad enough for people to squeeze in & out, and narrow enough to keep the bull out.

Above: When a bull does end up in the water, it is promptly rescued by a small boat on standby and guided back to shore. As it can be seen here, one can also choose to witness this spectacle from the water!

Multiple shows run throughout the week and lots of other activities such as live concerts, foam parties, parades etc. will also be taking place, making this period a perfect time to visit.

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