Bullfighting is certainly one of the best-known-although at the same time most controversial-Spanish popular customs. This custom could not exist without the Toro bravo, a species of bull of an ancient race that is only conserved in Spain. Many civilizations valued bull’s forebears as the bull cults on the Greek island of Crete are very well known. The Bible states that a sacrifice of bulls is honour of divine justice. Bullfighting is also practiced in Portugal, South America, South of France, Spain is and always has been the spiritual home of bullfighting. Despite recent protests from animal rights campaigners and changing trends in peoples’ attitudes, bullfighting is still practiced and followed in Spain today.
History of bullfighting in Spain
The history of bullfighting can loosely be tied back to Roman times when men would test their bravery by pitting their skills against wild animals. Bullfighting was established in Spain during the 18th century and since then the art was developed and grew into the national sport of Spain and an integral part of the culture of Spain.
Bullfighting season in Spain
The bullfighting season in Spain begins in February. The start of the bullfighting season in Madrid is timed to coincide with the local religious festival of San Blas. Bullfights are held at rings in cities and towns throughout Spain for the duration of the bullfighting season.Bullfighting in Spain usually occurs on weekends and starts in the early evening. Upon purchasing your ticket you can expect a typical evening of bullfighting in Spain to consist of 6 bullfights, with 6 different bulls. There are 3 bullfighting teams that participate and each team is expected to take on two bulls. The matador is the head of the Spanish bullfighting team and is cheered as he teases the bull with a red cloth. Picadors ride on horseback and their role in the bullfight is to help weaken the bull by lancing them in the neck with spears.
Bullfighting is criticized by many animal rights activists, referring to it as a cruel or barbarous blood sport, in which the bull suffers severe stress and a slow, torturous death. A number of animal rights or animal welfare activist groups such as Antitauromaquia and Stop Our Shame undertake anti-bullfighting actions in Spain and other countries.
Bullfighting in Spain today
Bullfighting in Spain today is a professional sport like any other. Bullfighters attend bullfighting academies in Spain to develop their bullfighting skills before graduating to become professional bullfighters. Similarly, there are special breeding farms in Spain which specialise in breeding thorough bred fighting bulls which are prized for their threatening physiques. Top bullfighters are considered to be heroes in Spain and command very high fees for their performances.