Atlas y Calendario de Fiestas del Patrimonio Cultural de Panamá

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Traditional Bullfights in the Interior


[The bulls and cows arrive.]

The bulls and cows arrive.


[Drum and flute are played around the fenced area of the bullfight.]

Drum and flute are played around the fenced area of the bullfight.


[Bamboo fences contain the bulls and the bullfighters into an enclosed area.]

Bamboo fences contain the bulls and the bullfighters into an enclosed area.


[This events attract big crowds, as it can be seen in this picture.]

This events attract big crowds, as it can be seen in this picture.


[A pair of cows wait for their turn in the ring.]

A pair of cows wait for their turn in the ring.


[A man avoids being hit by the cow.]

A man avoids being hit by the cow.


[The bullfights even have an announcer and commentator so that everyone stays informed of the highlights.]

The bullfights even have an announcer and commentator so that everyone stays informed of the highlights.


[The Indian Bullfighter is a character that travels around the country in order to participate in most of these events.]

The Indian Bullfighter is a character that travels around the country in order to participate in most of these events.


By:

Marino Jaén Espinosa
2007-09-27

A Spanish tradition that we have inherited and then modified to fit our idiosincrasy and realities is the bullfight.

Most patron saint festivities in the interior feature this form of entertainment. The way it takes place here in Panama is that one or several cattle raisers lend some bulls and even some agressive cows for the celebration. These animals are, one by one, introduced on a fenced area where they are teased by several men, who then try to avoid it when it charges them. No swords, pikes or any other items are used to harm the animal in any way. After several minutes, when it gets tired, the bull is allowed to exit the fenced area, and another is then brought, so that the suspense of the bullfight stays high.

There are many traditions around this activity. Days before the event, the fence is build from a bamboo species native of Panama or, in recent years, from metal and wood. Sometimes the fenced area is build on a open field, but sometimes it is build in the central square of the town, so it is delimited by the bordering houses.

As in many other Panamanian celebrations, they open with fireworks in order to let people from nearby towns that the party is going to begin. For bullfights, a duo of musicians, one with a two-skinned drum and another with a flute play around the fence. Each town uses a different tune for this and is part of the appeal of the tradition to be able to listen to this music.


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