Portugal’s bullfighting tradition is slowly crumbling down after its attendance fell by almost half in the past decade. Now, they turn to the younger generation – the children, in hopes of turning them into future fans of the country’s decade’s old culture.
Paulo Pessoa de Carvalho, president of Portugal’s bullfighting federation ProToiro, said the event aimed “to restore the tie between the bull and Portuguese culture – and increase our audience.”
In the recent “Bullfighting Day,” at the neo-Arabic Campo Pequeno arena in Lisbon, the 7,000 seats were hardly occupied and blood was apparently absent in the bullfighting demonstration.
The adults brought their children with them during the event. The small kids enjoyed a fun day at the bouncy castle inflatables, as well as the demonstrations by bullfighting apprentices, who showed their skills, but stopped short with the sticking of bulls with the lances or “banderillas.”
Though the event faced harsh criticism and backlash from animal rights group, there are those who believed it was a good event to show their kids everything about bullfighting.
Just like 34-year old Pedro Antunes, a bank employee who brought his five-year old son Tiago to the event.
“I don’t go to a bullfight very often, but I wanted my son to see what it was like. As the programme didn’t include anything violent, I thought this would be a good occasion to do so,” Antunes has told AFP.
The children wore the traditional matador costumes and were given a chance to stab at a fighting dummy bull heads. Then they returned to the stands to watch real bullfighters demonstrate how Portuguese bullfighting works, except the bloodletting with the banderillas.
According to the same report by AFP, killing the bull has been illegal in Portugal for 200 years.