Atlantic Cities
Postcard

Barcelona Without Its Bulls

Barcelona Without Its Bulls
Reuters

The Spanish are rarely without a good party. The southern region of Andalucia alone has more than 3,000 annual events, from pilgrimages to fairs to festivals.

Among the most famous are the country's annual bull fights (topped off by the running of the bulls, during which bulls are released into the streets every morning for a week; thrill-seekers run in front of them and try to avoid getting gorred).

But this year marks the first time key Spanish cities will be without the beasts. In 2011, Catalonia banned bullfighting, though pro-fighters are trying to overturn the rule. The fights were a boon to the city's tourism industry, bringing in thousands of fans from around the country.

But already, the tradition is beginning to fade. Every year, fewer Spaniards attend (the number dropped by 34 percent between 2007 and 2010). According to Reuters:

"I don't know anyone my age who would go to a fight. It's not a Catalan tradition but an Andalusian or Extramadurian one. The fact that the bull is treated so badly even before the fight should override any tradition anyway," said Laia Gomez, 31, a Barcelona customer service worker.

Younger Spaniards do not know the names of top-drawer bullfighters and most struggle to explain to a foreigner the intricacies and rules of the tradition.

Amanda Erickson is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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