Bullfighting is a traditional sight seen all over Spain, Portugal, southern France and even some Latin American countries. Generally the rules are that there’s one bull in the ring with a flamboyantly dressed bullfighter, known in Barcelona as the torero, whose aim is to avoid injury throughout the ritual by using intricate dance-like movements. Some call it a sport whilst others regard it as a fine art. Seen as a source of entertainment for centuries, in some countries the bull is killed as the finale and in recent years it has become a controversial issue, particularly in Barcelona.
Bullfighting, or la lidia as it’s known locally, is all about showmanship and basically is a dance with death, the torero, (you might be more familiar with the term matador), has to use all his skills and moves to ensure he avoids the horns of the mighty bull, one wrong move and it could all be over for him. As well as baiting the bull he also has to keep the attention of the audience and make the event exciting and thrilling for them.
A sport that dates back to the Roman Empire where different forms of bull baiting were practised for fun its history in Spain stretches back to 1387, talk to anyone living here and they’re sure to have an opinion about it. If you’re interested in finding out more about the sport or would just like to explore the city itself then look online for apartments to rent.
In 2004 the city council passed a symbolic vote to ban bullfighting, due to be enforced in January 1, 2012, which was received in different ways by the locals. Supporters argue that it is an essential part of their culture and traditions and view it as a form of art that can be compared to music, sculpture and painting. On the other side of the fence are the animal rights advocates who see it as a blood sport that causes unnecessary suffering to the bulls and has had its heyday, (each year in Spain alone there are over 24,000 bulls killed in the bullring). Not alone in their opposition, they are supported in their cause by nationalists who state it is a Spanish tradition, not Castilian, and are keen to ban it as an added way to identify themselves as seperate from the rest of the mainland.
Catalonians are fiercely proud of their ethnicity and have their own official language, although Spanish is widely spoken, and their own customs and traditions. Whilst much of the region is still very much in touch with their identity, there is a real mix of Spanish and Catalonians living in Barcelona due to a mass of internal migration in the 50’s and 60’s.
It’s expected that other regions will soon follow suit which is good news for the bulls but will also mean the loss of thousands of jobs and the government having to pay some kind of compensation to bull breeders.
These days whilst it’s still possible to see bullfighting events in some parts of the region, numbers are said to be declining and the crowd are mostly made up of tourists who are keen and curious to see the drama of the fights, and life-long dedicated fans who still view it as an artistic event. However, as this is an issue that already attracts a lot of negative criticism particularly from international tourists, it seems likely that in the future the number of tourists attending bullfights will drop thus bringing about its natural end as organizers find the events to no longer be cost-effective. There are already rumours going around about the future of the Placa de Braus Monumental Bullring, the main ring in the city, and how it would make a great location for a flea market.
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