Spanish culture and customs

Think of Spanish culture and customs and I’ll take a bet that the same thoughts come to you as they did to me. 

 Now, while I have a love for all things Spanish such as tapas, excellent wine, white washed pueblos, flamenco and literature, who isn’t familiar with Cervantes’ “Don Quijote de la Mancha”, the second most translated book after the Bible?

Some Spanish customs and traditions I do struggle to understand.

And those include all things Spanish that involve chasing bulls through the streets, around a bull ring or into a river until they are left frenzied with fear or killed! Is there another way of saying it?!

Spanish culture and customs

Every year from July 7th-14th thousands pack into Pamplona to start Spain’s most famous bull-running fiesta to honor Navarre capital’s patron saint, San Firmin.

Spain’s culture commands more than 3,000 fiestas each year. This particular fiesta culminates in the bulls running into a bull ring where later on in the afternoon they are killed.

This began around 1591 when the locals simply needed to move the herd to the bullring but now many many years later it has become an intrinsic part of Spanish culture and customs.

I just don’t get it!

The same as the English tradition of scaring the wits out of a fox and tearing it limb from limb in the name of conservation. Forgive me but…seriously??

I seem not to be the only one with strong feelings in this department as a petition of 180,000 signatures took effect in 2011. Fans in Catalonia have seen the last fights now that a ban on the age-old tradition comes into effect in Spain’s north-eastern region.

Bullfighting is permitted in all other regions of Spain except in the Canary Islands, which banned it in 1991. Spain’s culture may see some changes if further bans are won although for now Spanish cultures are strong.

Here are some FACTS:

  • Those taking part in the a bullfight are called toreros, while the person in charge of killing the bull is the matador de toros – killer of bulls
  • Fighters can be awarded the bull’s ears, tail or hooves as a trophy
  • Barcelona’s last bullring, the Monumental, stages 15 fights each year – each contest involves about six bulls
  • Author Ernest Hemingway was an admirer of Spanish bullfighting and wrote about its rituals in 1932 in Death in the Afternoon
  • The tradition dates back at least 4,000 years and is thought to have been popularised by the Romans
  • It remains popular in southern France, Portugal and some South American countries

As I said not all bulls are taken into a bullring to be spectacularly slaughtered it seems other fiestas creatively use their bulls as afternoon entertainment too.

Click here to let this article speak for itself.

Iam not attacking Spain because goodness only knows we have our own questionable activities in England but, as a human being  it’s a sad day that we justify such cruelty towards those animals unfortunate enough to be reared for this sport.

I wonder how many people would whole heartedly agree with the statement below.

‘For a city like Barcelona to close this arena is like throwing a Picasso painting into the garbage’


Happy learning,


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Lazy Spanish Learning

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