What Is the National Animal of Spain?

What is the significance behind the national animal? What is the national animal of Spain?

A bull is the national animal of Spain. Bulls are considered an inseparable part of Spanish culture. They are involved in Spain’s traditional running as well as bullfighting. The involvement of bulls in Spanish culture makes it its national animal.

Though bulls have become an integral part of the traditional bulls running and bullfighting, some controversies have come up to stop bullfighting. Currently, some activists have come forward to stop the old tradition of the country.  

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The Running of Bulls 

As stated earlier, the running of bulls is part of Spanish culture. This event is considered an important part of the San Fermin Festival. The festival takes place in summer between 7th to 14th July in the morning hours. During this festival, people start gathering at Plaza De Castillo.

They sing songs to welcome bulls. The bulls set released at around 8 pm. The running of the bulls is celebrated with fireworks and sound. People follow the bulls without bothering much about their safety. 

Bull running is not safe when people find it entertaining and follow them to enjoy the festival. Over the years, the running of the bulls has caused many deaths and injuries. Even if the event has been around since the 16th century, the risk associated with the running of the bulls has created concerns for many. 

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Initially, the event was being organized to group the bulls from corrals for the bullfighting ring. People used to hit their bulls to bring them from corrals for the event. However, people started to join the bulls in the 1850s. They developed a new tradition, and since then, the running of the bulls has become a festival for people and bulls. People are dying every year during the event.  



Another popular festival in Spain that involves bulls is bullfighting. The festival is observed in summer & fall. The event is managed by matadors. The bullfighters will be walking around the ring to welcome the bulls and start a fight. They will first test the ability and strength of bulls before allowing them to fight. In the first stage, they will use a muleta, a small red cape, to test the strength. 

During the second stage, a bullfighter, known as picador, will taunt the bull. In this stage, the spectators will throw bards targeting the bulls. The objective is to make the animal angry. After this, the bullfighter waves the cape again while hiding a sword. In this event, the matador will kill the animal for much applause and fanfare. The event continues for long hours. 

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Bullfighting is a part of the ancient Spanish culture. It has been around since the year 711 from the rule of King Alfonso VIII. The initial plan might have been inspired by Roman Empire’s gladiator events. Spain started these events with upper social class people. However, King Felipe V stopped the event for the upper class, and then the lower classes started to celebrate it in 1724. 

Two bulls in a festival in a village in Toledo
Two bulls in a festival in a village in Toledo

Controversies Related to Bull Fighting 

Bullfighting involves bulls’ killing. Therefore, many groups and people in Spain do not support this event. They want to stop it and save bulls from this dangerous act. Though some people find it cruel to animals, others still believe that it is a part of the Spanish culture and they should not stop it.

Even if it has become controversial, still, the festival is being observed in many Spanish cities. Only some cities that include Barcelona have come forward to ban bullfighting. Currently, more than hundreds of cities are not arranging bullfighting events. 

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Why Bulls Are Considered Dangerous? 

Bulls are male cows. However, these adult cows are not castrated. They are large in structure and weigh up to 1,800 pounds. Bulls can live around two and a half decades. They are considered dangerous due to their large size and behavior. They can kill a person or injure someone seriously. When they become a part of any event, they can be more harmful. In the above-mentioned festivals, people use different ways to provoke them. 

What Are the Other National Symbols of Spain? 

The bull is the national animal of Spain. The national flower of Spain is the red carnation. The national motto is Oplus ultra. The windmill is another national symbol of Spain.