History

One of the most ancient customs of our lands is to include bull games to any celebrations such as royal births, royal weddings, coronations, canonizations, receptions of sacred orders or any other commemoration. Even though there has not been any serious study concerning the celebrations of bull festivities before the 15th century, we can assume that they started to take place in the 12th or 13th century, when the town played an important part in the official life of Castile. The oldest document that we have concerning bull festivities in Medina del Campo dates back from October 20th of 1418, coinciding with the royal wedding of Juan II and María de Aragón. We know that after the nuptial ceremony, "there were many bull and joust games", according to the book that tells the life of the monarch and the recasting of the book by the falconer of Fr. Lope de Barrientos. We also know that at that time, some shopkeepers - butcher, oil grocers, etc. - of Medina del Campo had to supply "eleven bulls per annum, according to the will of the governors" for the public celebrations.

There has been at least five ways to run the bulls since that time: alanceados bulls (hit with lances) - according to López Ossorio´s testimony in his book about the history of Medina, "during bull runs, one must be very nimble to stick the lance through the bull's body"; embolados bulls (whose horns are tipped with balls) - it is said that it was in Medina del Campo where the Queen Elisabeth the Catholic ordered that leather balls had to be put on the bulls´ horns after having seen two men killed by a bull on the Plaza Mayor; enmaromados or ensogados bulls (with a rope tied around their horns) - that is how they were run when Felipe II visited the town in 1559; albardados or encohetados bulls (with halberds and rockets) - such a "suerte" (or act) was run to commemorate a royal birth in 1601; and, of course, another way of running the bulls is the encierro, with the capea (sort of bullfight but with a young cow), that we are going to explain.