Bullfight of the Ribbon in Casabindo, Argentina

 Casabindo, Argentina

Casabindo, Argentina

Casabindo sits at 12,000 feet in the highlands of Argentina's Jujuy region. Once a year, La Catedral de la Puna, the village's immense, centuries-old church, plays host to bloodless bullfighters.  

On Aug. 15, Argentineans wake before dawn and travel hundreds of miles in rickety old school buses to descend on the remote mountain town and celebrate the Patron Saint's Day of Our Lady of the Ascension with the town's 150 llama and sheep-herding residents.

Religious pilgrims come to dance, to celebrate, to sell their goods at the fair and to watch Nike-clad tweens try to snatch silver-coined ribbons from the horns of angry bulls. These boys, toreros, pretend to be matadors. They improvise outlandish jumps and rolls yet they aren't trained in the art of the matador's dance so they walk away gored in their arms and legs. They are bloodied; their clothes ripped into shreds. Those who succeed, at the end of the day, they offer the ribbon to the Virgin in a traditional ceremony.