Tag Archives: bulls

The Bull that Leads to Gold

Informant: The informant is a very good friend of mine. She and I met in my sophomore year of high school. She is currently an undergraduate at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The following transcript is a retelling of a ghost story that she heard from her mom and that has been passed down by the family. 

Context: This story took place in Jalisco, Mexico, around the late 1980s. It was an experience and encounter that the informant’s mom had. My informant states that this story is a little hard to believe yet based on how there is evidence of such occurrence, she has now been obligated to believe it. The informant states that the reason why she believes this ghost bull might have appeared in front of her mom was because children are innocent, and unselfish.

Story: This is another story from my mom that took place in Mexico when she was a kid. She was at home with her younger brother, just playing and her mom was out. They saw this full-sized bull that ran from one wall and ran to another wall straight through it and disappeared. The bull looked dark gray and a little bit of dark gray. A regular bull-like light reflects off of it. She and her brother were scared out of their minds, and they ran out of their house. They went looking for their mom and ran around the small town and told a few people about what they saw. No one believed them. Present-day today, that house has been torn down and the wall where the bull had appeared from years ago was found out to contain a lot of gold.” 

Analysis: I find this ghost bull, a little hard to believe myself. It might be because I haven’t seen this wall of gold which my informant says to exists or because the individuals who experienced this where children. However, I think it’s important to note that children do not lie. Well at least, in Mexican culture, children as taught to not lie. Therefore, when my informant stated that the townspeople did not believe her mom demonstrates just how much children are not relied upon. If whoever at that time had listened to the informant’s mom, then they could have gotten away with so much gold/riches. I think it is important to have faith and trust children a little more. Although, a child might have a crazy imagination, children do not make up stories to scare themselves.

Proverb – Come and hit me bull

Context & Background:

An example of a proverb similar to ‘asking for it’. Translated from Hindi to English.  Informant – collector’s father.  

Performance: (in person)

Proverb: “Aa Bail Mujhe Maar”


Aa: come

Bail: bull

Mujhe: me 

Maar: hit

Translation: Come bull, hit me.   

Explanation: When someone tells you this proverb it means that you’re asking for it. It’s like a person is walking around in a red cape, asking the bull to get agitated and hit them.       


Yet another example of calling someone out for making a mistake. This one is easier to understand because the translation makes sense in English and in Hindi. This is more frequently used than others because of how easily it slides off the tip of the tongue. When you don’t complete the chores that mom gave you and she comes and scolds you later, you can say that you were asking for it or, “Aa Bail Mujhe Maar”. But this would not be a good instance to use this proverb, because you are comparing your mom to a bull, and unless you want more yelling, you should use a different proverb. 

“Dios en mi. El en ti, la sangre de cristo, me alibre de ti” Mexican proverb and narrative

Main Piece

Informant: My grandma tells me this story about a lady who lived three towns over when she was living in Mexico. There was a time when bulls got out and were running through the streets because they escaped, and this woman was in the streets and caught off guard and a bull was running straight towards her. And there was a prayer that she said over and over again watching the bull run over.  When the bull came up to her it stopped right in front of her, they made eye contact, and the bull  just walked away. She told everyone in town the prayer she told herself to protect her, and it spread across town and that is how my grandma heard it. The prayer went like this:

“Dios en mi. El en ti, la sangre de cristo, me alibre de ti”

It roughly translates to “God is with me. The Devil is with you. The blood of Christ protects me from you.” 

She always tells me to say this whenever I am in danger, whenever I don’t feel safe, to just recite it over and over again and now I do whenever I am scared shitless. There is nothing else to do! Haha. 


The informant is a great friend and housemate of mine, and he is a senior at USC studying Lighting Design. Coming from Oxnard, CA he and his family are very connected with their Mexican roots and he has grown up practicing and identifying with many aspects of Mexican culture. He is also a very big raver, as he enjoys going to many EDM festivals and aspires to do lighting design for different raves as well. 


One day the informant was driving while I was in the passenger street and we had to take a very dimly lit dirt road. When he was driving I heard him reciting a  prayer in Spanish while we were taking this road, and since I speak Spanish fluently as well I could understand it was some sort of protection prayer. After we got off of the road I asked him what he was reciting, and asked him about it once more in our interview to get more of the context. 


Coming from a very Hispanic city and a Mexican family, the informant was taught this folk proverb and accompanying narrative through in Spanish and through word of mouth. It offers a sense of protection and security, and ties into the religious nature of Hispanic communities. Since this story was passed down from his grandmother, it also is a signifier of identity not only to his family, but to his culture as a whole.

Tradition – Pamplona, Spain

Tradition: Running of the Bulls

Pablo’s Description:

“Well to me, the running of the bulls is very important because it happens in my hometown. It’s something that I’ve been growing up with and it is very interesting to see how it has developed since I was three or four years old. It’s become a tourist attraction now as we have over twenty thousand Americans that come over to party because it has become more of a party thing. It is a party scene but is also traditional as there is folklore behind it. The actual running of the bulls comes from when my city was founded by the Romans. They constructed the city on the basis of a hill with streets leading up into the central area. That way, for generations to come they had the cathedral and important buildings in the center of the city. The bull arena is right there next to everything else. Back in the 19th century, whenever we would have a bull fight, they would have to carry the bulls from the river all the way up the hill to the arena. The shepherds would bring the bulls, because bulls are not aggressive as we think they are; they don’t just go attack people until they feel threatened. But, people started running in front of them and it became a more fun and growing tradition. Then, the city decided it was too big to do spontaneously so they actually determined a road that the run will follow, which became more popular. Hemingway came over from America and increased its popularity to Americans, which is why it has become a large party for everyone. It’s a traditional event for me to remember our history but it has become a drinking event for most.”

When I asked Pablo about the running of the bulls, he described to me the history and the folklore behind it. He explained how it originated and the tradition it has built ever since. According to him, the events take place from the sixth of July until the fourteenth. Since he was little, he always went to the festivals and took part in all of the activities. He takes part in the running now as he is older and says that he plans to continue to do it each year. When I asked Pablo to describe the festival, he told me that it was basically a twenty four hour party with tourists drinking all throughout the night. He said there is traditional folk music that is played along with many folk dances to entertain everyone. There are lights and people everywhere as everyone takes place in this festival.

To Pablo, the running of the bulls is really special to him because it symbolizes a lot of history and the memories he has of his city. He said that he gets really sad whenever he can not attend the running and hopes that he is able to go this year. It represents a lot of Spanish culture as the festivals as well as the running of the bulls show the various traditions of Spain. This event has grown so much that over two million people annually attend the running of the bulls.

I agree with Pablo in the sense that the running of the bulls represents Spanish culture. It shows how their folklore helped construct the foundation of a city as well as a country. The event brings the country as well as others together to take part in the running. Although I believe there is great tradition involved with the event, I think it has become more of a party scene where thousands of people are socializing during the week. However, the folklore is important to the people who live in the community like Pablo and it shows with all the great memories they have from it.