Aleluya de Toros

Easter Sunday in Spain is a day of celebration. In some towns there are festivals, in others concerts, for the most part, Sunday is filled with much celebrating and frivolity. In Arcos de la Frontera, locals celebrated with the Aleluya de Toros or running of the bull (only one bull at a time).

We didn’t plan to be in Arcos for this… so it was an unexpected surprise when the lady at the front desk of Los Olivos told us about it when we asked why there was fencing bolted to the ground on the main street. The fencing is to protect spectators from the bull (or vice versa depending on how you look at it).

There are two runs: one at 10am and another at 3pm. Thousands line the single street to see/run from the bull and as such, many start trickling down at 6am to get a good spot. For the first run we were on the street. However, as time passed and people got drunker, tempers shorter, and fights became common, we decided to watch the second run from the roof of our hotel. The second part of Nina’s Semana Santa video shows the run from both angles (starts at 5:00 in the video).

If you take the event for what it is, an Easter tradition that has existed for decades and is a part of Spanish culture, then it’s pretty exciting.

If you dig deeper, then you’ll see drunk people abusing and tormenting a scared bull (and each other) to the point of crowd hysteria. Allegedly, the bulls get eaten after the event; however, the two scarred bruisers that we saw looked like they’ve seen more than one bull running event. One drooled so much that we speculated on whether or not it was drugged.

Niña only watched the morning run. She preferred to stay in the hotel courtyard and read her book during the afternoon run. I’m glad she did because the afternoon was full of fistfights, crowd stupidity, and little bull-running. By this time the bull had had enough and had decided to stay in one place and chew on garbage and beer cans that were being thrown at it. The real entertainment came from the crowd.

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