Bullfights are a major attraction at Costa Rica festivals. Photo La Nacion
Bullfights are a major attraction at Costa Rica festivals. Photo La Nacion

QCOSTARICA – The year-end traditions in Costa Rica include the Zapote Fair and Pedregal bullfights, when a group of mostly young men gathered in the middle of the ring wait for the bull to burst from the gate, and they all start to run in every direction, some leaping over the boards, others lying down to avoid the charge of the bull.

“The Legend of Malacrianza” – In the past 10 years, the bullfights have claimed the lives of 17. See more.

In the tico-style bullfights, the bull NEVER loses.

Unlike bullfights in Spain, Costa Rican bullfighting does not aim to kill the bull, but only to dodge it. It is hilarious to watch, and the reason why it event is televised, live, every night.

The bulls come from every corner of the country, brought in to challenge the men and women in the ring. Although in this style of bullfighting the bull are not injured, the same can’t be said for the “improvisados”, as those crazy enough to get in front of a charging bull are called.

Though most of the bulls are docile, they do get riled annoyed by the taunts of the improvisados, causing the bull to charge.

In the first five days of the event (December 25 to 29), 76 improvisados have made contact with a bull and required medical attention.

Over the years a number of bulls have become popular, like Malacrianza and Chinchirre, becoming starts in their own right, drawing crowds to the events.