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Bullfighting Culture in Sevilla (2:36)

Sevilla, Spain
Contains mature topics

Sevilla’s Bullfight Museum offers a bloodless way to learn about this traditional, controversial sport. To many locals, it’s part of their culture. Matadors are revered…and religious. Before a fight, they pray to the Virgin of Macarena for success.

Complete Video Script

Some of Spain’s best bullfighting is done right here in Sevilla’s 14,000-seat Plaza de Toros.

There are fights on most Sundays, Easter through October.

Bullfighting is just one facet of the pageantry-packed traditional culture so alive in Andalusia. With or without the bulls, festivals fill the arena with vibrant traditions – music, colorful dress, and a proud heritage.

While bullfighting is controversial, and many believe that the patronage of tourists just helps keep a brutal spectacle alive, others see bullfighting as a real and vivid part of Spanish culture. Whether or not you actually attend a bullfight is up to you. To learn about this tradition without actually supporting it, you can tour Sevilla’s Plaza de Toros and checkout its bullfighting museum.

Your visit starts with a tour through the strangely quiet and empty arena. In the museum you’ll learn more. A few special bulls are honored here — each awarded the bovine equivalent of an Oscar for putting up the best fight of the year. This one’s missing an ear — it was awarded to the matador who also performed well. Matadors dress to kill — elegant in their tight-fitting and richly ornamented “suits of light.”

Rick: These matadors dress so elegantly, don’t they?
Concepción: Hm, I must say, in a very…
Rick: Are they popular with women?
Concepción: Very much, they look very sexy. Besides, most of them are rich and very handsome, too. Of course, they are as famous in Spain as movie stars can be.
Rick: So, some girls dream about “getting a matador”?
Concepción: I think many. One of my best friends, of course she wanted to marry one of them but, unfortunately he married someone else not too pretty.
Rick: [laughs]

The first-aid room is where injured fighters are rushed. Hoping not to end up there, matadors pray here, in the chapel. The Virgin of Macarena is a protector of matadors and the favorite among Sevillanos.

While her images are everywhere, you can see the actual darling of Sevilla nearby at the Basílica de la Macarena. Grab a pew and study the Weeping Virgin. She’s a 17th-century doll — complete with articulated arms, and human hair — she’s even dressed with underclothes. With crystal teardrops her beautiful expression — halfway between ecstasy and sorrow — touches pilgrims.

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