When you think about bullfighting, the first thing that crosses your mind must be either Spain and its “corrida de toro”, or Portuguese “corrida de touros”, or perhaps French “combats de taureaux”. But have you ever heard of “borba bikova” in Bosnia & Herzegovina? The bull-on-bull fights, known as Bosnian corridas is a centuries-old tradition that is deeply embedded in the history of this part of the Balkans. Not only bull wrestling is without blood but is also very animal-friendly. Unlike Spanish counterpart, Bosnian bullfights are not controversial since no humans are involved, and no blood is shed, therefore it is rather an event of joyful togetherness and lots of fun. Let’s explore together Bosnian bullfights in a nutshell.
The bull wrestling in Bosnia & Herzegovina is an ancient tradition that has been ever since part of festivities in villages all over the country. In these fights, only bulls are competing between themselves, without matadors, and the duel doesn’t result in the death of one of them. In the open field, bulls are trying to chase each other within the improvised ring. What happens here is a sort of an extension of fights for dominance that occur between many species in nature. Obviously, animals fight in their natural way, with no man’s interference. Finally, one of them turns and leaves the ring, so no life is lost. Even though very interesting, this topic is rarely caught on film. One of the exceptions is a movie called “Korida” (2016) that depicts Bosnian bull-on-bull fights in a very credible way.
Until a couple of years ago, the fights between bulls in Bosnia & Herzegovina used to be bloodier, but still not even close to the Spanish counterpart. Their horns were sharpened, plus some steel extensions were added on it. And just before entering the arena, they were hit to so that they fight more forcefully. Nowadays, since the new rules came into force, bull wrestling is more animal-friendly, and very much resembling the fights that take place in the wild. Predominantly associated with masculinity, in Bosnia some women are also successfully participating with their bulls.
As per new rules, the bulls are checked by the veterinaries before they enter the ring, to make sure that their horns are not too sharp, but also that their anti-doping test is negative. In general, the fights are supposed to play out under the natural conditions such as a battle for male dominance in the wild. The bulls are fighting by their own rules, with no brutal clashes or injuries happening. When the beasts clash their heads, one of them has to give up eventually. Sometimes, the animal leaves the arena without even trying to fight. Just like in nature.
During the summer months, many corridas are organized all around Bosnia & Herzegovina. Every week there is an event somewhere in the villages, which attracts thousands of visitors. The most famous are “Grmečka korida” and “Čevljanovići korida”. Often even just the names of bulls are the attractions for themselves because some of them are called Ronaldo, Messi, or Putin. The bullfights are perfect occasions for locals, but also for tourists, to gather and have fun while eating, dancing, singing, etc. In a nutshell, the entertainment is what matters the most for people when it comes to Bosnian bullfights.
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