Panamanians celebrate Festival del Toro Guapo

Starting on 15 October and spanning the weekend, the quirky Festival del Toro Guapo (Festival of the Handsome Bull) will be taking place in Antón, Panama, offering a number of unconventional activities for festival goers.

Festival del Toro Guapo gets under way in Antón, Panama.

Festival del Toro Guapo gets under way in Antón, Panama.

It is believed that the festival originated several centuries ago when women constructed wooden bulls and pretended to attack each other, as they were not permitted to watch bullfights. Today, the festival centers around an intricate 'dance' between the wooden bulls, and a series of unusual contests based around homemakers’ tasks: a rice husk-removing race, a firewood carrying contest, a mat weaving contest, a maize grating race and pollera (the Panamanian national dress) and flower-making contests. One of the rituals that catches the most attention is that of putting sandals on cows, which originates from the times when cattle rustlers used shoes to quieten the steps of the cattle they stole.

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