La Plaza de Toros... Olé!

Authored by:
Rachael Zahn

Rachael Zahn

The lardest bullfighting ring in Spain is located right here in Madrid. This ring is the 3rd largest in the world. The Beatles even performed here

If you are interested in watching one of Spain's oldest and most controvercial traditions, you should be prepared for a few things:

1. Make sure you pick a seat in the shade!! 

2. According to Spainish tradition, the 'fight' between the toro and the matador is a ritualistic performance, an art form to depict power. 

3. The goal is not to kill the toro (or the matador!) They see it more as a journey, not a destination. 

4. If the toro does die, the meat is eaten and not wasted. (There are even taxidermy bulls decorrating the stadium) 

5. Different flags can be thrown by the participants to change the outcome of a fight. Orange represents that the crowd thinks that the toro is strong and courageous and should be spared. If this is the case, the toro goes off to smell the flowers in a field like Ferdinand. If the flag is green, the toro has to be removed for medical reasons. The white flag is for when the matador has a clean kill of the toro and can be awarded a trophy, the ears of the toro. 

6. The classic red cape only attracts the toro because of it's movement, toros are colorblind. 

7. Women have been practicing bullfighting for over 100 years. 

8. The matador does not practice with the toro- the toros have no contact with humans before the match. 

9. The traje de luces are the decorative suits worn by the matadors and have had a strong impact on Spainish modern fashion. 

Our students were able to visit the plaza and the neighboring museum to see the history of some of the most famous bullfighters in Madrid. They even got to try out a 3D Virtual Reality simulation of being in the ring! 


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