A montera is the hat traditionally worn by many males and females in the folk costumes of the Iberian peninsula. It has come to name also but not exclusively the ones used by bullfighters, introduced to the event in 1835 by Francisco “Paquiro” Montes as an accompaniment to the traje de luces, or “suit of lights”.
It is habitually covered in Astrakhan fur with an inner lining of velvet. The image of a saint is sometimes printed on the lining as a talisman of good luck. The top of the montera is often decorated with a special design.
The “bulbs” on the sides of this hat represent the horns of a bull.
The matador takes a position below the president’s box and, with the montera held aloft in the right hand, folded muleta and sword in the left, formally requests permission to dedicate (brindar) the bull to some person or friend, to whom the montera is tossed. A bullfighter may also dedicate the kill to the general public, signified by doffing the hat to the crowd, turning full circle, and then tossing it over the shoulder to the ground. Superstitious bullfighters take special note whether the hat lands up or down, for a montera that lands upside down could mean that it will soon be filled with the bullfighter’s blood.