July 29, 2021

The bull of fire of Medinaceli returns to unleash the polmica – The Province

The bull of fire of Medinaceli returns to unleash the polmica - The Province

The celebration, this Saturday, November 10, in Medinaceli of the celebration of the Toro Jubilo or bull of fire it warms up the spirits between defenders of animals and defenders of traditions in which animals are used.

The practice consists in that a score of people surround it, they grab it and when the animal tries to get away, they hold it even more strongly until it is immobilized against a log to set fire to the structure attached to its horns.

Various animal entities have demanded the cancellation of this act because they consider that it is mistreating the animal to which balls are placed on the horns and pursued in the Main Square from this town of Soria. The animalist party PACMA, for example, has demanded City Hall of Medinaceli and the Castilla and leon meeting the suspension of what is considered the last bull of fire that is still celebrated in this community.


The Soria locality Medinaceli will celebrate on the night of Saturday, November 10, its traditional 'Toro Jubilo', the last bull of fire that survives in Castilla y León and that was declared in 2002 as Traditional Bullfighting Show of Regional Tourist Interest.

This ancestral ritual that is celebrated every year on the Saturday closest to November 13, has bull, mud and fire as the main protagonists. At present, the animal is smeared with mud to try to avoid burns and some iron baskets –gamella– are placed in the antlers ending in two balls prepared with sulfur, tow and turpentine, which are ignited.

The rite begins when the animal, which is tied to a pole in the Main Square of the ducal villa prepared as a ring, is released by a waiter who is responsible for cutting the rope after what the bull begins to run among the people who removes, cuts and cuts until the fire of the antlers is extinguished.

Once the competent authority terminates the Fiesta del Toro Jubilee or Fire in the square, the animal is locked in the corrals and the next day it is slaughtered in the slaughterhouse. The meat of this bull is distributed among the residents of Medinaceli and consumed in successive days.

On the night of 'Jubilee BullFive bonfires, one for each of the five patron martyrs of Medinaceli (Arcadio, Probo, Pacasio, Eutiquiano and Paulino), illuminate the interior of the Plaza Mayor and act as burladero in flames. Apparently, these bonfires are celebrated since 1610 and commemorate the arrival of the bodies of these blessed to the village from Africa.

A popular version, which tries to Christianize the 'Jubilee Bull', links this celebration with the arrival in Medinaceli of the relics of the Holy Bodies. According to this legend, the remains of the martyrs Pascasio, Probo, Eutiquiano, Paulino and Arcadio were transported by a bull that carried firebrands on their horns.

According to some historians, the 'Jubilee Bull', a term that comes from jubilee sacrifice or indulgence, refers to the struggles between Iberians and Carthaginians and reminds the straw carts that burned dragged by oxen equipped against the fire and driven to the enemy.

Other anthropologists trace the tradition to the Bronze Age while others relate this type of party with the bull to the Royal House and the aristocracy on the occasion of visits, births, weddings … in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Tito Livio is also often reminded that Hannibal, fighting with the Romans, once used bulls with their horns on to feign a march of soldiers or break through.


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