Portuguese Bullfight

The Portugues bullfight consists of the horse riding with 6 or more bulls, followed by the handle made by 8 'forcados' (face grab) or by only 2 'forcados' (withgarde). Since the mid-nineteenth century, with the generalization of the handle, that in the Portuguese bullfight abandoned the death of the bull in the arena.

In the Portuguese bullfight, the horsemen dress in 18th century costumes and the 'forcados' dress like the boys of the late nineteenth century. It was in the time of Philip III that the gala cars were introduced into the arena for the first time during the royal races.



The courtesies mark the beginning of the Portuguese bullfight. At the beginning of the race, all the players (horsemen, forcados, bandarilheiros, novilheiros, campinos and other players) enter the arena and greet the public, the direction of the race and eminent figures present in the square. In the former Portuguese gala races the dress is strict and in the arena parades are drawn by luxuriously equipped horses.

Horse ride

All the running of the Portuguese bullfight consists of the "lide" of six bulls, usually. Each bull is handled by a horseman, who has a certain time during which he can carve a variable number of barbs long (at first),  short and span (even smaller) on the anima

l's back. The way to approach the bull and to spike the iron also can vary, being able, among others, "frontal", "to the opposite piton" or "em violino", and must be finished "to the stirrup". The training of bulls on horseback requires a great physical and psychological preparation of these animals, which begin to be worked as soon as three years old. There is a race of horses specially developed for bullfights, the horse "Puro Sangue Lusitano" (PSL), which is distinguished by its courage, generosity and haughtiness.



After bull lide by the horseman, the "Peão de Brega" (a subordinate figure of the horseman, whose function is to position the bull in the best way, either for the horse or for the handle) perform some maneuvers with a 'capote' positioning the bull, usually next to the boards, so that the Group has space to catch it. Then the 'forcados' enter the scene. The 'forcados' are an amateur group that faces the bull on foot in order to be able to immobilize the bull solely to the force of arms. Eight men enter the arena, the first being the forked in the face, followed by the so-called aids, the first and second help (the most decisive), fifth the tailor (the so-called "rudder" Of the bull, trying to stop the advance of the animal and fix it in a certain place so that when the forked leave it does not invest on them and usually, by spectacle, usually go around with the animal) and finally the third aid that also help in catch.

The handle is consummated only if the first forcado is kept safe in the corns of the bull and this one is stopped and immobilized by its companions. In bullfights where bullfights are handled on foot there is no handle.

The Forcados were born around 1836 when queen Maria II forbide the death of the bulls in the arena, thus, it is necessary to finish the lide of the horsemen with any gesture of dominion of the Man on the animal. Before performing these functions, the "Moços Forcados" were the actual guard during bullfights, which prevented the animal or unauthorized persons from ascending to the royal stateroom.

In March 2015, the Assembly of the Republic passed a Law [8], which establishes the minimum age of 16 for tauromáquicos and auxiliaries, with the exception of amateurs and amateur artists who may participate at a lower age, albeit only with prior authorization or communication. As the case may be, to the respective Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People, in accordance with the rules laid down in the Labor Code for the exercise of functions by persons under the age of 16. [9]


Bullfighting is the whole culture that involves the bulls. This one begins in the cattle ranch (where the bulls are created), spaces associated to great fields with space to be lost sight of, passes through the Coudelarias (where the horses are created), fundamental pieces in the bullfighting for being necessary from the creation of the bulls to its lide, there is also the typical costumes associated with the bulls, the Campinos costume (inspired by the typical costume of Ribatejo), the horsemen (horse riding costume in the eighteenth century), the Forcados (inspired by the countryside clothes), the Amateur horsemen (Traditional Portuguese costume or traditional Spanish riding), Toureiros ("costume of lights"), Picadores (in races in Spain), Peões de Brega or even horses in courtesies, among others, Tauric Feasts and Fairs, From the beginning of the bullfights, Garraiadas, Rope handle, etc., by the Passodobles, style of "band" music, very old and created with the purpose of giving the environment to the bullfights, by the many Fados, Sevillanas or Flamencos of bullfight theme, by the ways of life of the people associated with the bulls like the Ganaderos, Campinos, Amateur horsemen, and goes through many and many other examples of the bullfighting culture, on which they depend directly or indirectly Perhaps hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Bullfighting represents the domain of Man, of reason, about the brute and violent force of the animal, where Man tries to deal with an animal that is free to defend itself with the aim of creating art. In bullfighting, Man represents the human values of courage, surpassing, courage in the face of violence and the chaos of the bull. The French philosopher Francis Wolff, Professor at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, wrote in 2011 a small book called "50 Reasons to Defend the Bullfights" aimed at amateurs and anti-bullfighters. In 2011, the Portuguese Federation of Taurine Associations (Protouro) handed out an explanatory document on "What Bullfighting Is" [7] and its importance in the Portuguese Parliament in the Education and Culture Commission.