Fiesta del Torico de Chiva
Among the numerous Spanish festivals involving bulls, one particular fiesta that stands out from the crowd takes place in Chiva, in the province of Valencia. It is known as “El Torico de la Cuerda”. Putting the controversy aside for now, if you want to find out more about the eternal debate on the bulls take a look at our article - this festival is well worth a visit due to its unusual proceedings.
Every 17th, 18th and 19th August, there are two carreras (races) in which one or two bulls are let out to the street. The animals have a long rope attached to their horns and the young people daring enough to participate have to grip the rope and force the bull to run through a course that’s been established throughout town. But that’s not where it ends; runners can tie the bull to the door of any house in the area. The owner of the house must then lavish the brave person with small gifts such as sweets, refreshments or wine.
One big difference compared to the other bullfighting celebrations is that the Chiva bull is not sacrificed nor led to a bullring afterwards to be part of a bullfight. Once it has completed its route around the town and has made the relevant "visits" to the houses, it is returned to the field to rest and who knows, maybe to even tell its companions the latest gossip on the inhabitants of the town!
They say that this tradition dates back to 1765 and that its intention was purely satirical. Historians claim that there is strong symbolism associated with the festival as the bull symbolizes the impetuous nobility who are in the end dominated by the people.
As you can see, this is a very atypical festival that is worth the visit. And besides, we can go with the relief of knowing that the “main character” will be able to live to tell the tale.