Tag Archives: Féria

Féria festivities Day #3.

Rejoneador at the Féria

bullfighter on horseback

The rejoneadors are bullfighters on horseback. Not the same as picadors, these are matadors who are also dressed to kill. They don’t wear the suit of lights. Their costume is less flamboyant, but very smart.

They come to our Féria to demonstrate their horsemanship and to take part in the afternoon session devoted to riding skills. The horses are beautiful and very well tended.

Féria horse

waiting to perform

After, the horse show it’s back to fun and games attempting to outrun the bulls. The lads lie down in front of the entrance. The first bull comes tearing out.

racing bull at the Féria

the bull cleared the line of boys

Those boys are glad the bull can jump! Now they scramble to get up and clear out of his way. When he turns around, chances are he’ll be very angry.

This bull was particularly energetic and very clever. He spotted a gap in the fence and made for it. Soon, he was running in the space reserved for the toreros.

Four bulls come to chase the boys around the arena. To escape, the lads must either clear the perimeter fence, or jump in the pool of water. In theory, the bull won’t want to get in the water. In theory!

Toro piscine at the Féria

so bulls don’t like water, huh?

Sometimes it’s best not to move a muscle.

bull at the Féria

whose move next?

There’s never a shortage of youngsters who want to chance their arm.

young bloods at the Féria

getting ready for the next game

There are prizes for the best performance. Top prize went to a local young man, Antoine, who can somersault a charging bull. I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to catch a good shot. Here’s one I borrowed to show what I mean.

bull somersault

are they crazy?

Antoine did a clear somersault first, as in this photo.

On his second one, he landed on the bull’s head between the horns and then pushed off into a forward somersault. Amazing.

I wished I had a real movie camera to capture that moment.

When the games are finished on the third and final day, it’s time to relax with food and music.

At the very end of the three day Féria, Toro de Fuego blasts off with more fireworks.

toro de fuego

more fireworks to end the show

 

A model of a bull, loaded with fireworks ends the show with a bang!

 

 

Féria festivities Day #2. Dressed to kill.

The first day of the Féria ends with disco music and foam party that goes on way past midnight. Best to wear your not so best clothes. You are going to get very wet. Kids love it, as do mums and dads. Even grandmas like me have been known to enjoy a little dip in the suds. It’s a great way to open the fiesta. Kids go home exhausted.

foam party at the Féria

pumping up the action

They’ll sleep like logs ready for another fun-packed day.

On day two of the Féria, the professionals arrive.

They wear their suit of lights, the traditional costume of bullfighters.

Matador at the Féria

Matador in his suit of lights

The traditional design of the torero’s costume is steeped in history. The description, suit of lights,  refers to the thousands of sequins and reflective threads of gold and silver embroidered on the silk. The donning of this 18th century costume is a ritual in itself, whereby the torero attended by his squire is literally dressed to kill.

Here’s a lovely video by Mike Randolph about the making of a suit of lights:

After the morning session of our Féria is over, lunch is usually paella cooked in enormous pans or a variety of meats grilled over vine wood on open fires. In the afternoon, it’s time for the Games.

Languedoc bull games

waiting for dancing with bulls

This is going to be exciting. Mothers and grandmas wait with bated breath. Their sons are gathering in the ring to pit their wits against this great beast. Grandfathers look on proudly.

The young bloods of the village lie down in front of the bulls’ entrance.

When the beast charges into the arena, he will, in theory, leap over the prostrate bodies in the sand.

There’s a bellowing noise. The crowd goes quiet. The bull is coming. Look out!

at the Féria

glad he made it!

That was some weight that just went thundering by. The boy in the green shirt near top left of the photo can hardly believe his eyes. There’s more fun to come.

I think he lasted all of three seconds.

These boys have got to be fast. In my next clip, one of them wasn’t quite fast enough.

Day two of the Féria ends with live music from a big band with dancing girls and fireworks at midnight.

Sleep well. There’s another full day tomorrow.

Féria fireworks

fireworks light the night sky

Siesta, then Fiesta! Summer in Languedoc

July is time for Fiesta. Here in our village, every July sees three mad days of celebration. But, it’s hot. It’s hot, Hot, HOT. You can’t sleep it’s so hot.

 

So, if you want to enjoy the three days of Féria, take that afternoon siesta when you can. You’ll need the extra energy to get you through the nights.

First Day of the Féria

The first day of Fiesta begins with games in the arena. A travelling company sets up their bull ring and apprentices from the bullfighting school in Béziers demonstrate their skills with the cape.

Fiesta bullfighting

a proper Paso Doble!

The young man in the photo above is a native of our village and, as you can imagine, raised great cheers from the crowd.

Fiesta crowd

young men admiring bull ring skills

This trainee matador also had female admirers. One young lady in front of me took off her hat and threw it into the ring at the end of his performance. Maybe her telephone number was tucked inside. Who knows?

He bowed and acknowledged her gesture of respect and admiration before returning her hat.

Another young trainee who raised hats from heads and bottoms from seats was a young lady!

female matador

brave female matador in training

There’s interesting history on the question of female matadors. Until 1975, women were banned from the top job. In 1999, Cristina Sanchez, Spain’s only female professional matador at that time retired after 10 years, blaming male attitudes for her decision. There’s more information on this subject here, on WikiGender.

And here’s a video about other women matadors:

 

There are strong arguments against bullfighting, but here at our fiesta, there are no kills. You have to admire the agility and elegance of these performers. That bull can weigh up to 700 kilos. You need guts to stand in front of that.

Oh, and by the way, that T on the boarding there? It doesn’t mean this is the way to the toilets.

bulls' entrance

Toro!