World ? Asia ? South Korea

Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival

Cheongdo bulls battling it out. Courtesy of South Korea Tourist Office
Photo courtesy of the South Korea Tourist Office
Apr 2009 (annual)
Cost: W4000; 8-19 yrs W3000
Link: Cheongdo County Website
The Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival is far from the stereotypical image of a battle between human wit and animal aggression. Instead, it is a fair fight, head-to-head, horn-to-horn, bull against bull.
Bullfighting in Korea is a 1000-year old tradition, with its roots in the territorial fights that establish grazing rights between the bulls. The farmers were quick to see the benefits for themselves should their bull emerge victorious, so they took to lending a hand. Nowadays bullfighting is an immensely popular sport in Korea. It has moved from rural farms to massive arenas with hundreds of thousands turning up to watch.

The Cheongdo Festival is easily the biggest of Korea's bullfighting events, holding a domestic tournament and also an international tournament where bulls from Japan, USA and Australia participate. Alongside the fights are numerous exhibitions to wander through, including displays on farming in the Cheongdo area and photography of the famous bullfights.

It is not all about strength and aggression - these carefully trained bulls are awarded points, in much the same way as martial arts, for such recognised moves as pushing, head attack, neck attack and more.

If you find the practice of bullfighting unpleasant or disturbing, please avoid this event.
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