Wherever is the situation, if someone mentions Spain, the first four things that came to everyone’s minds are siesta, fiesta, corrida, and flamenco. Well, sleeping before all night long party is a common thing, so siesta and fiesta are clear terms. However, corrida is a questionable concept and flamenco might be understood as traditional Spanish dance. Both things are complex cultural realities of the Spanish culture and it is necessary to have a basic understanding of them before traveling to Andalusia.
Corrida: toros, torero and plaza de toros
Usually, people have a skeptical attitude towards corrida. Lots of rumors are flying about the bullfights and some of them are true while others are just myths. However, corrida is one of the most famous Spanish traditions, and you should take a chance to see it.
The performance is held in a special arena called Plaza de Toros. All arenas are huge, old-fashioned, impressive and open amphitheaters – worth to visit. The show always starts in the afternoon, so there are different prices for seats in the sun and in the shadow. Keep in mind that the temperature in Andalusia can be up to +38ºC, so you don’t want to melt down while sitting 3 hours in the sunlight.
The old traditions of corrida are kept until these days, as a result, all members of the performance wear traditional closes, they use horses instead of any vehicles, and before the bull is released whereupon the fanfare of trumpets from the brass band plays the traditional music of pasodoble. Every corrida consists of 6 rounds as there are six bulls. The released bull is making angry by two picadors (two riders riding specially prepared horses), then three banderilleros (older matadors) trying to make the bull tired and insert two wooden sticks with spikes into the bull’s neck. Finally, the main matador, who is called torero in Spanish, performs the last moves with bull and kills it with a special curved sword. Everything is done artistically with lots of elegance. When the round is finished, the audience stands up and waves with white napkins to honor the matador.
The performance isn’t usual for many people and there is blood, so think twice before attending the show. However, you must respect it as an old tradition and don’t express your negativity to local people.
Andalucía has always been a poor but incredible musical part of Spain. Many specific styles of music, songs and dances were developed here. However, it’s important to notice that the influence of Moorish and Gypsies cultures was very strong, so some cultural realities are not very Spanish originally. Flamenco dance is one of them.
Flamenco is a passionate and seductive art form combined of very specific dance moves, acoustic guitar music, and clapping. Flamenco dancers usually wear the traditional colorful polka-dot dresses and long scarfs, use lots of bright makeup and decorate their hair with flowers. Guitarists usually are men and they perform in very simple clothes. Flamenco dance is a highly expressive dance form. This enchanting form of performance has been known in Andalusia for nearly five hundred years.